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iPad Pro (2018) rumor review: new design and new features?

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Apple will be holding an event in less than a week, on the 30th of October, and it's widely believed that we will see a new set of iPad Pro models announced right then and there. These would refresh the iPad design and bring about more powerful hardware and some new features, as always.

So, what's going to be new? What does the rumor mill say about them? Let's dive in and see what to expect!

Design

 

Last time we saw a pair of iPad Pros be released, they came in two form factors — one had a manageable 10.5-inch display, while the other sported a gargantuan 12.9-inch screen. Needless to say, the smaller version is a customer favorite, since it strikes the balance between portability, hardware power, and price (in Apple product terms, at least).

Well, rumor has it that the 10.5-inch version's screen might grow a bit this year. According to leaksters, the smaller variant will have an 11-inch display this time around. However, this may not mean that the iPad will grow in size — we are, in fact, expecting to see a new design, with slimmer bezels, and possibly even Face ID. As far as the bigger iPad Pro — the rumor mill says it'll retain its 12.9-inch screen.

Now, there's a bit of a mistery here we haven't deciphered yet. A small design element in the form of an elliptical pad spotted both in alleged leaked schematics and a supposed iPad Pro case. It's located on the back of the device, just behind the Lightning connector. Some leaks and rumors suggest it could be a magnetic connector, meant for various mystery accessories. Could it be there as a new means of attaching and charging the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro? We low-key hope so!

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Last but not least, some speculate that the new iPads will do away with the headphone jack, following in the footsteps of the 2016 iPhone 7. Hopefully, this one turns to be a dud rumor, but hey... Apple did say this archaic connector is a thing of the past.

Features

For years now, we've wondered if 3D Touch will be coming to the iPad line at any point. Well, we are getting close to an answer. And not only is that answer "no", there are also rumors floating about that Apple will be removing 3D Touch from its future iPhones as well. Yup, apparently, the tech's usefulness does not outweigh its production costs.

That aside, we expect from the new iPad Pros what we've always gotten from the iPad Pro line — support for the Apple Pencil as well as a Smart keyboard accessory to give the tablets a laptop-like use.

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The rumor mill insists that we will see Face ID on the new iPads, which would mean thinner frames around the display and no Touch ID. Apple doesn't like to complicate stuff by adding a lot of options to choose from, so it's either face-scanning or fingerprint scanning for the new devices. And recent rumors suggest the former.

New Pencil

We keep hearing whispers of a new Apple Pencil 2 with updated functionality. However, details on what that functionality might be are scarce. We can only speculate that the new Pencil would be designed around that mystery magnetic connector on the back. Hopefully, that would mean that it will charge in a manner that is much more practical and... pleasing to the eye.

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The current way of charging the Apple Pencil is not very... elegant

Specs

Of course, we can expect Apple's latest and best mobile chip to be in the new iPad Pros. The new iPhones are powered by the A12 Bionic, built on a 7 nm process — it's not only more powerful but also more energy-efficient than last year's model. Supposedly, the processor in the new iPads would be called the A12X (chips in the iPads always have that X in them to denote they are slightly more powerful than the iPhone variant).

There has been no word on whether the RAM would be updated and we'd have to say chances are slim. Last time around, the iPad Pros had 4 GB of RAM. That's plenty enough for contemporary mobile devices, and especially for iOS, which loves to freeze anything and everything in the background, leaving a lot of free resources for whatever you are doing right now. However, since the current iPhone XS models have 4 GB of RAM themselves, it's possible that the iPad Pro gets bumped up to something like 6 GB. Still, that's just us guessing.

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Now, if you're hoping for an AMOLED panel, we're going to have to stop you there. There is absolutely no evidence to support that Apple will be switching away from LCD screens on its tablets and we kind of find it hard to believe that the company would do so at this stage. Why? For one, the 120 Hz LCD panels Apple uses for the iPad Pros right now are pretty awesome as they are. Then, there's the fact that a ton of AMOLED resources are going towards the new iPhones.

But here's a biggie — USB Type-C ports! The rumor mill insists that the new iPad Pro models would have a USB Type-C connector, instead of Lightning, enabling it to transfer files and imagery faster, as well as opening it up to a vast array of 3rd party accessories and monitors. We are still not sure how we feel about this rumor. It does sound very much not like Apple to go with a generic connector, and it will certainly piss off a ton of the userbase that has invested in Lightning accessories for their pro needs — musical equipment and whatnot.

Price and release date

And what about price? The new iPads could fit in the very same price brackets as the tablets they are replacing, but since they are about to adopt Face ID, we might see a slight price bump. We also expect to see the baseline storage get upgraded from 64 GB to 128 GB, as we saw on the iPhone XS models. So, the iPad Pro 11" could start at around $700 for a 128 GB Wi-Fi model and the new 12.9" iPad Pro would start at about $850 for the 128 GB Wi-Fi version.

Rumors say the new iPad Pros will be announced at the upcoming Apple event on the 30th of October. History shows us that the tablets launch within a week of being announced, so expect to be able to buy one in the first days of November.

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