Alongside the new iPhones, new Apple TV, new Apple Watch bands, and a gold anodized version of the Apple Watch Sport, Apple plans to debut a pair of new iPads on Wednesday: the larger iPad Pro and a new iPad mini. Since our report last week that the iPad Pro would be unveiled at this event, we’ve gathered a few more details about the device from several sources who have either used the iPad Pro or are familiar with the product.
Unlike earlier iPads, which have started at 16GB of capacity and been designed to appeal in both pricing and size to the masses, even the base model iPad Pro will have features fitting its name. We’re also hearing that it’s coming a little later than originally expected, but will still make it out by year’s end…
iPad Air 2
First, we understand that production of the new tablet is running slightly behind schedule. While Apple still plans to announce the device this week, open up pre-orders in October, and begin shipping in November, we understand that the first shipments may fall towards the end of November. Even then, it seems likely that the device will experience initial supply constraints, despite a higher set of price tags than existing iPad models.
We’ve also learned that the base model of iPad Pro will likely ship with 64GB of storage, which is substantially more space than the 16GB base models of the iPad Air and iPad mini lines. Apple will also sell a pricier 128GB model. The device will run iOS 9.1, the first full point release to iOS 9. While the new iPhones will come in an additional Rose Gold color, we’re told that the iPad Pro is likely to ship in the prior Gold, Silver, and Space Grey variations to start.
As with the iPad Air and Mini lines, the Pro will be available with built-in LTE capabilities. We’re told that the pricing of the highest-end iPad Pro versions with LTE chips will compare closely to Apple’s latest MacBooks. As the iPad Pro will support a new Apple-designed Bluetooth keyboard, customers may have a tough choice in the $1,000+ price range when looking for either a large-sized iPad or small-sized MacBook.
Speaking of the larger screen, we have been told that the 12.9-inch display is a “monster.” To give it truly “Pro” capabilities, the iPad Pro’s landscape split-screen mode will be bolstered to allow two full-sized portrait iPad apps to be displayed. This is unlike the split-screen mode on the iPad Air 2 and upcoming iPad mini 4 that condenses portrait iPad apps to fit side-by-side in landscape mode. The iPad Pro will include an A9X chip, which we’ve heard will be a “large” leap over the Air 2’s A8X. It will also have four stereo speakers, but a single Lightning port on the bottom.
Lastly, we’re told that Apple has decided not to bundle the iPad Pro with either the new Force Touch-integrated iPad stylus or keyboard. These accessories will be sold separately. We’re told Apple has developed two versions of an iPad Pro keyboard attachment: one that doubles as a case and another that is more similar to the Apple Wireless Keyboard it has previously sold for Macs and iPads. It remains to be seen whether Apple announces one or both on Wednesday. Apple will also sell its usual portfolio of Smart Covers and Smart Cases that are tweaked for the larger iPad.
You can read our extensive roundup to learn about Apple’s other announcements in store for September 9th.