Apple’s Next iPad to be a 9.7-inch iPad Pro Variant
We’re less than a month away from the next Apple event that will see the launch of (at least) two new products – the iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3. Now, while we have a good amount of knowledge about the iPhone 5se, there’s very little that we know about the iPad Air 3 apart from rumours that it will sport the latest A9X chipset along with the iPhone 5se.
Latest rumours doing the rounds suggest that the new iPad is merely a 9.7-inch variant of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It will be powered by the Apple A9X SoC, carry quad-speakers, and contain 4GB of RAM, similar to that seen in the iPad Pro. In other words, the iPad Air 3 will, in fact, be an iPad Pro, only smaller.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will support the Apple Pencil and a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard using the magnet-based Smart Connector seen in the 12.9-inch version. The new, smaller iPad Pro will be available in the same color options as the larger model (Silver, Gold and Space Gray). It also will be available in Wi-Fi (32GB and 128GB) and Wi-Fi+ Cellular (128GB) just like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
From what these new reports tell us, it seems that Apple is beginning to blur the lines between its various tablet models. We could be seeing a new iPad that borrows the USP from the Air, Mini and Pro, combining it into one light, small, and powerful tablet. If this is the case, then the upcoming 9.7-inch tablet may just see the end of the Mini and Air, eventually.
However, the iPad Mini is still Apple’s most affordable tablet among the three, so it may not kill that off just yet unless it manages to price the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro right. It is also unconfirmed whether the smaller iPad Pro will fall under 440 g in order to fall under the ‘Air’ category as well. It begs one to question whether the iPad Air ($499 – $799) will be appealing once a more powerful iPad Pro with the same size and weight enters the market and is priced closer to the former.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in Silver, Gold and Space Gray and will also be available in Wi-Fi (32GB and 128GB) and Wi-Fi+ Cellular (128GB) just like the 12.9-inch Pro. The new iPad Pro and iPhone 5se will be announced at a press event on March 22.