Apple’s iPad is undoubtedly the iconic tablet computer, but the range has slowed in the marketplace over the last couple of years. When the Californian corporation released its most recent earnings report, the year on year sales for the iPad range had deteriorated by 19 percent, with a revenue fall of 22 percent.
Cook speaks out on iPad
Yet despite the grim news for the tablet computer, Apple maintains that it is a fully committed to the iPad. Just last week CEO Tim Cook spoke on the future of the tablet range, indicating that Apple has big plans for the iPad in the future. “We’ve got some exciting things coming on iPad, and I’m optimistic about where things are headed,” Cook commented.
And it seems now that Apple is planning to spruce up its tablet range in the next month or so. Reports have suggested that Apple will release three new iPad models in 2017, with an affordable 9.7-inch model accompanied by a revamped 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a brand-new 10.5-inch computer.
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Both the 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad models are believed to feature a new A10X processor, meaning that they should both be extremely powerful performers. But one of the particularly intriguing rumors about the brand new addition to the iPad range is that the 10.5-inch version will feature an edgeless display with almost no bezels at all. This design feature will effectively provide a glimpse into the Apple design ethos for 2017, with the iPhone 8 expected to follow suit later this year.
iPad stocks running low
With regard to the release date, Mac Rumors has already noted that the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro is in short supply at major retail stores. This means that Apple has been running down stock of its current tablet computer, with the obvious intention of introducing a replacement in the near future. “A spot check of Apple’s online store reveals that most if not all 12.9-inch iPad Pro models are now estimated to ship in 2-3 weeks in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and elsewhere—that’s up from a shipping estimate of 1-2 weeks as recently as last weekend,” Mac Rumors reported.
This means that fans of the iPad range may not have too much longer to wait to get their hands on the next iteration in the series.
Elsewhere, other reports have suggested that the 2017 iPad range will be notable for its stationery Home button, similar to those implemented previously in the iPhone 7 generation. Apple is expected to freshen up the way that the Home button operates in the next 12 months, with many believing that the traditional feature of the iPhone range will be removed completely when the iPhone 8 is unveiled.
Apple Pencil 2
Leaks from the Chinese social media site Weibo have also suggested that the Apple Pencil 2 may include a magnet, enabling the device to attach directly to the side of the iPad Pro. This is not exactly an original feature, with Microsoft’s Surface Pro models already providing this functionality, but Apple is expected to follow suit in 2017.
The Czech-language website LetemSvetemApplem has also confirmed this possibility, apparently citing “information directly from suppliers in China”. This particular website also suggests that the next generation Apple Pencil will feature a clip on the side, preventing it from rolling away, and also enabling users to click the device on to their pockets.
iPad Pro 2 – Camera features
Apple is also expected to significantly improve the cameras included in the next generation iPad Pro 2, with a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera expected. This would be a 50 percent increase over the eight-megapixel snapper included in the last generation of the tablet. But the front-facing selfie camera will be improved further still, with reports suggesting that it will be capable of capturing five-megapixels in the forthcoming generations. This is a massive 400 percent increase over the last iPad Pro release.
Video capabilities are also expected to be improved, with Apple tipped to embrace 4K video recording with the next iPad Pro release.
It is probable that the iPad Pro 2 will be shipped with the A10X processor, similar to the A10 Fusion processor previously utilized in the iPhone 7 generation. This will ensure that the next iPad Pro release is significantly more powerful than previous iterations of the series.
Some reports have even suggested that Apple could embrace OLED with the iPad Pro 2, particularly as the consumer electronics giant has been strongly linked with the screen technology for the iPhone 8. However, this ultimately seems unlikely, as Apple is already struggling to source enough screens to manufacture the iPhone 8 with OLED included.
Flexible / foldable
Finally, some outlandish suggestions have even hinted that the iPad Pro 2 could feature a flexible display, possibly even a foldable screen. This seems highly unlikely considering the small timescale involved with this device, but certainly patents exist for this to be incorporated into the iPad range one day.