The din of the rumour mill is now deafening, with every pundit and their dog predicting that Apple is going to follow up its March launch with a second new iPad for the year – and this time it’ll be something exciting, as opposed to the admirably affordable but modestly specced number we got a few months back. We’re talking about the iPad Pro 2.
In this article we preview the iPad Pro 2, based on our sifting of the huge numbers of insider leaks and pundit predictions zipping around the web at present. Bear in mind that none of this is set in stone – this page will turn into our definitive review as soon as we can get our hands on review samples.
Design & build quality
Numerous leaks strongly suggest that the new iPad announcement will be or include a 10.5-inch model, sitting neatly between the two currently offered iPad Pro models. Here’s a taste of what it might look like, based on leaked photos and dummy models:
Render by Benjamin Geskin, for iDrop News
The mockups indicate that the 10.5in iPad Pro 2 has a Smart Connector for attaching a Smart Keyboard; it also has a flash on the rear-facing camera, like the 9.7in iPad Pro (and unlike the 12.9in iPad Pro).
Expect quad-speaker audio (two speakers at the top, two at the bottom, just like on the existing iPad Pro models).
Apple unveiled a new iPad this year, but we expect the upcoming tablet to be technically far closer to older Pro range – in terms of features as well as specs (which we discuss in the next section).
Principally that means compatibility with all of the Pro accessories: a Smart Connector on the lefthand edge so you can connect a Smart Keyboard, and the ability to use it with an Apple Pencil.
We also expect the new iPad Pro to get the True Tone display tech that has so far only been available on the 9.7-inch Pro (the 12.9 missed out, as did the iPad 2017), and we hope it will also get that device’s rear-facing camera flash.
We don’t know much about Apple’s plans for the next iPad just yet, with the exception of one heavily leaked detail: the screen size. Numerous pundits have predicted, and numerous leaks appear to have confirmed (all of which are detailed in our iPad Pro 2 rumour roundup), that Apple is adding a new 10.5-inch screen size to its range.
At present iPads are available in three sizes: the 7.9-inch mini size, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad 2017, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. So we’re looking at a device that would offer only slightly more screen space than the existing mid-size models – but as discussed in the design section, the company may squeeze this extra display space into a chassis that the same size or even smaller, by reducing or eliminating the bezels and potentially the Home button too.
Screen resolution and pixel density
For the iPads either side of the proposed 10.5-inch form factor Apple offers a consistent pixel density of 264ppi (pixels per inch) – whereas the iPad mini 4 is rated at a much higher 326ppi.
Assuming Apple sticks with 264ppi, and an aspect ratio of 4:3, we should expect a resolution of somewhere around 2,200 x 1,700.
Bear in mind, however, that this isn’t a commonly recognised resolution like the QXGA (2048 x 1536) of the iPad Pro 9.7: at a stretch the company might go for WQXGA (2560 x 1600), the closest common resolution to what we’re looking for, but that would entail a higher pixel density (287ppi) and a different aspect ratio (16:10, rather than 4:3), which would in turn cause headaches for app developers.
As for the rest of the specs, we expect a bump to the processor – this could be the A10 Fusion chip that appears in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, or even a souped-up A10X version – for fearsome processing speed. The 9.7 and 12.9 iPad Pro models come with 2GB and 4GB of RAM respectively; call us optimistic but we’re hoping for 4GB in this model, given that the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 comes with a minimum of 4 and is available with up to 16GB.
Apple’s keeping mum so far (as usual), but multiple sources point to an announcement this summer, most likely at WWDC 2017 in June.
In May, for example, ChannelNews, citing local sources, reported that Taiwanese manufacturers started making the new 10.5-inch iPad “back in March or April”, and on this basis speculated that a launch could be imminent; a leaked stock listing from an Apple reseller shows a case for the new size of iPad by Urban Armour Gear labelled “Due June 2017”.
Apple is generally pretty good at achieving a fast turnaround between product announcement and in-store availability. (The main exceptions to this are when an entirely new product line is unveiled, such as the first iPhone and the original Apple Watch, because of regulatory hurdles, but that shouldn’t apply here.) We’d be surprised if there’s a gap of more than 10 days before the iPad Pro hits the shops.
The iPad Pro isn’t going to be the bargain offering we got earlier this year in the form of the iPad 2017, which starts at a highly tempting £339. We reckon the next iPad will start at around £570 to £600. Read next: Best cheap iPad deals
This is roughly what we expect, price-wise:
- iPad Pro 10.5 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £579
- iPad Pro 10.5 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £679
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £779
- iPad Pro 10.5 (32GB, cellular): £699
- iPad Pro 10.5 (128GB, cellular): £799
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, cellular): £899
When it goes on sale you’ll be able to order or preorder the iPad Pro 2 from Apple’s site.
We base our predictions on a simple analysis of the current (correct as of 26 May) pricing of the 9.7-inch Pro:
- iPad Pro 9.7 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £549
- iPad Pro 9.7 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £639
- iPad Pro 9.7 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £729
- iPad Pro 9.7 (32GB, cellular): £669
- iPad Pro 9.7 (128GB, cellular): £759
- iPad Pro 9.7 (256GB, cellular): £849
…and the 12.9inch model:
- iPad Pro 12.9 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £729
- iPad Pro 12.9 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £819
- iPad Pro 12.9 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £909
- iPad Pro 12.9 (128GB, cellular): £939
- iPad Pro 12.9 (256GB, cellular): £1,029