Technology

iPad Pro 3 Release Date, A11X Bionic Processor, Face ID, Specs

No, Apple hasn’t officially revealed the iPad Pro 3 release date. The tech giant refreshed the iPad Pro line only a few months ago in June 2017 when it introduced a 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Though Apple referred to them as 10.5-inch and 12.5-inch iPads rather than ‘iPad Pro 2,’ they were second-generation iPad Pros. They both are absolute beasts. The rumor mill’s focus is now shifting to the third-gen iPad Pros.

iPad Pro 3 Release Date
Image Source: Benjamin Geskin | Twitter: @VenyaGeskin1

Report hints at March/April iPad Pro 3 release date

Rumors have been floating around for the last few weeks claiming that the iPad Pro 3 release date could be as early as the first half of 2018. Apple doesn’t follow a specific upgrade pattern with the iPad line. The first iPad Pro was introduced in November 2015. The iPad Pro 9.7-inch arrived only a few months later in March 2016. And then Apple took more than a year to introduce the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models (June 2017).

According to TechRadar, the iPad Pro 3 release date should fall “in the middle of 2018.” There is always a possibility of Apple unveiling the tablet a couple of months earlier or later, though. A new report from Chinese site MyDrivers claims that the iPad Pro release date could happen in March or April next year. MyDrivers has a hit-and-miss track record when it comes to industry leaks.

iPad Pro 3 to run A11X Bionic processor

MyDrivers has learned from its sources that the iPad Pro 3 would run an ultra-powerful A11X Bionic chipset. The chip will be ready for shipment by March or April, which is when the new iPad Pro is likely to be unveiled. The A11X Bionic will be a more powerful version of the A11 processor that powers the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. According to the publication, the A11X will have eight processing cores.

The A11 Bionic is a hexa-core processor consisting of four high-efficiency and two high-performance cores. In the A11X Bionic chipset, there will be three high-performance cores dubbed “Monsoon” and five high-efficiency cores dubbed “Mistral.” It means the iPad Pro 3 will be far more powerful than the mighty iPhone X.

Sources told MyDrivers that the A11X would be produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) using 7nm manufacturing process. The current A11 Bionic chipset is made with a 10nm process. The A11X Bionic is also expected to have an M11 motion co-processor and a neural engine that would handle AI tasks. Apple uses the neural processing unit (NPU) for the Face ID in iPhone X.

Face ID coming to the iPad Pro 3

The presence of the neural engine lends credibility to reports that Apple would replace the Touch ID fingerprint reader with Face ID on the iPad Pro 3. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently told investors that the upcoming iPad Pro would be equipped with the TrueDepth camera that supports Face ID. It would introduce a new user experience that is consistent with the iPhone X.

In fact, all the upcoming iPhones are also said to feature the Face ID technology, which would be a big boost for the iOS “ecosystem development,” said Kuo. If Kuo’s prediction turns out to be true, Apple would ditch the Touch ID button on the iPad Pro 3. It means the upcoming tablet will have slimmer bezels at the top and bottom. Face ID can be used to unlock the device, authenticate payments, and create and send Animojis.

Other expected features

Bloomberg claimed earlier this month that Apple was working on a “redesigned, high-end iPad” with Face ID. However, Bloomberg added that it would continue to use LCD screens rather than switching to OLED panels. The OLED screens are costly and remain in scarce supply. Samsung alone manufactures roughly 90% of the world’s OLED panels.

Apple introduced a new 10.5-inch screen size only recently, so it is unlikely to bring new screen sizes next year. The third-generation iPad Pro is rumored to come in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes. The tech giant hasn’t refreshed the 9.7-in iPad Pro. It’s likely that the 9.7-inch size would be assigned to a more affordable, non-Pro model. The rumor mill doesn’t expect Apple to make any major changes in the camera department.

The iPad Pro 3 will likely retain the quad speakers, True Tone display technology with 120Hz refresh rate, and the Smart Connector. The True Tone technology optimizes the color temperature and display brightness depending on the surrounding lighting. We expect the iPad Pro 3 to offer water- and dust-resistance capabilities. The Cupertino company currently offers water-resistance only on its flagship smartphones.

Users would appreciate it if Apple adds water-resistance to its flagship tablets because they are also vulnerable to rain-related problems and spillages. The iPad Pros don’t offer a great battery life, especially when using them for media consumption. We expect Apple to improve battery life with the third-generation iPad Pro.