Last year's super-flagship iPhone delivered a dramatic overhaul of Apple's smartphone design, kicking bezel – and fingerprint sensors – to the curb while introducing the TrueDepth camera, Face ID security, and even Animoji. The world is different now that we have talking poop emoji.
It's about time for an iPad Pro upgrade, and unsurprisingly, rumours and leaks suggest that Apple is about to give its larger touchscreen devices the iPhone X treatment, complete with a redesign and facial scanning smarts. Here's everything we've heard so far.
When will the Apple iPad Pro (2018) be out?
What about the new iPad Pro, then? Given that a significant iPad overhaul could get lost in the buzz around the new iPhones, Apple wisely opted not to roll out the devices then. Rumours have suggested an October reveal event instead.
(Current iPad Pro 10.5 shown)
We definitely expect to see it this autumn, and an October debut sounds about right.
How much will the Apple iPad Pro (2018) cost?
This is the big question, right? The iPhone X brought a significant redesign to Apple's smaller devices, but did so at a huge price premium. Will we see the same kind of increase on the iPad front?
Some kind of bump seems likely, but we haven't heard any compelling rumours either way at this point. Given the expectation that Apple will drop the new 5.8in iPhone XS down $100 from the iPhone X, we suspect the sticker shock on the iPad Pro won't be as bad as with last year's phone launch.
Currently, the 10.5in iPad Pro (2017) starts at £619, while the 12.9in model starts at £769.
Apple might bump the prices a smidge, maybe in the ballpark of £649 and £799 respectively, but we're not anticipating vast increases – the iPad Pro is already pricey.
What will the Apple iPad Pro (2018) look like?
If we believe Apple's own iOS 12 beta code – and really, we should – then the new iPad will go very light on bezel but won't have the iPhone X's notch in tow.
That's an interesting move, to say the least. Apple has trimmed down some of the bezel since the iPad's early days, but there's still a bit on the sides and larger chunks at the top and bottom.
However, iOS 12 code-diggers found an iPad icon that just shows a large screen dominating the entire face, with just a little bit of bezel all around and no cutout at the top. Perhaps the new iPad Pro will have a bit more bezel than the iPhone X – just enough to house the camera and sensors at the top, at least – but a lot less than past models. And that means no home button or fingerprint sensor. Unsurprisingly, the code also suggests iPhone X-like gesture controls for the iPads.
What might that look like? MySmartPrice and OnLeaks took a swing at speculative renders based on purported leaked CAD drawings (above and below), and they show an appealing device with a nearly all-screen front and a more angular shape overall.
Whether or not all of those projected details in the renders are correct, the idea of a slim-bezel, screen-centric redesign rings true to us.
What about the Apple iPad Pro (2018) screen?
The iPhone X's screen resolution was only a little bit crisper than that of the iPhone 8 Plus, but it introduced a much bigger change in the shift from LCD to an OLED panel.
OLED panels allow for much-improved contrast and deeper black levels, and paired with the bezel-lite design, the results are pretty spectacular. So now the big question is: will the new iPad Pro also make the switch?
It's certainly possible, although OLED supply constraints might be the only thing making Apple second-guess the decision – especially if they're rolling out two iPhone XS models this month.
That said, the iPad Pro already had a pretty incredible screen, with 120Hz ProMotion, True Tone colours, and fantastic resolution and brightness – so another LCD screen along those lines wouldn't disappoint. MySmartPrice, for its part, believes that both Pro models will indeed stick with LCD this time around.
We certainly hope that the switch to OLED pans out this year, but we're not yet convinced.
How much power will the Apple iPad Pro (2018) pack?
Apple is sure to unveil a new A12 chip alongside the iPhone XS and iPhone 9 models, and it's almost certainly the chip we'll see in the new iPad Pro, as well.
Whether it will be an enhanced A12X chip, following the trend of past iPads, remains to be seen. That might depend on whether Apple launches the iPads at the same time as the iPhones, or waits until later.
In any case, the A10X Fusion chip in the last iPad Pro models was incredibly swift, and last year's A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 is still the fastest smartphone chip on the market, even a year later. No doubt, the new iPads will be packing immense power.
Bet on some serious portable grunt with the new iPad Pro tablets.
What kind of cameras will the Apple iPad Pro (2018) have?
We're a lot less interested in which camera is on the back of the iPad Pro and a lot more interested in what's on front: the TrueDepth camera system from the iPhone X, reportedly.
The first-gen system isn't flawless, but it sure is impressive: Face ID security works like a charm most of the time, and Animoji are fun. We're looking forward to seeing any potential improvements in the iPhone XS, along with any other useful functionality. But even if it's just the same, that'll be a nice addition to the iPad experience.
iOS 12 code has uncovered mentions of the TrueDepth camera, Face ID, and Animoji for iPad, so it's hard to believe that this won't happen.
On the back, will we see a dual-camera setup like on the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus? Honestly, we're not expecting it. A surprising number of people use their iPads to take photos out and about (see: museums and concerts), but an iPad doesn't need high-end snapping tech. Put the single shooter from the iPhone 8 or purported iPhone 9 on there and it'll be golden.
There's no doubt in our minds that the iPad is getting the TrueDepth camera system, and on the back, we'd be very surprised to see more than one main camera.
Is there anything else I should know about the Apple iPad Pro (2018)?
Rumours suggest a potential Apple Pencil 2 in the works, which could introduce interchangeable tip shapes and an eraser end, and possibly some kind of magnetic attachment for sticking to the iPad.
If true, then we imagine Apple really would take its time to showcase the new iPad Pro devices at a separate event later this year, especially given the potential impact on creative users.
Apple blog Macotakara suggests that the new iPad Pro will cut the 3.5mm headphone port that's also been missing from recent iPhones, which is certainly disappointing.
And the addition of Face ID could pose a unique challenge for the iPad Pro's Smart Connector and associated attachments. Reports suggest that Face ID can't function in landscape mode, and that the Smart Connector could be moved to just above the charging port on the back, meaning you'd connect a Smart Keyboard with the iPad in portrait mode. That hardly sounds ideal, but it's something Apple will need to sort out.
Also, no glass backing means no wireless charging – but that seems less essential than on an iPhone, where you might pop it on and off of a charging pad during the day.
Lastly, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will trade its proprietary Lightning port for USB-C on the new iPad Pro models, and ship with a new 18W adapter. USB-C has gradually become the industry standard, although Apple has been the most notable holdout with its Lightning port.
Granted, the new iPhones don't use USB-C cables, so it would seem to be an odd shift for Apple to make the move so soon after with the new iPads. But Kuo's been dead-on in the past, including calling this year's iPhone details nearly a year in advance, so we'd do well to hear him out.
All told, it sounds like the iPad Pro is in for a nicely alluring upgrade, from the design to the TrueDepth camera system and plenty more power in tow. We're looking forward to seeing it for ourselves.