Everything you need to know about the iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Features, release date, specifications and rumours
The iPad Pro is Apple’s most awaited and discussed product since the Apple Watch. Described by several sources as a larger version of the existing iPad Air 2, the iPad Pro/iPad Plus is expected to top Apple’s line of tablets with a screen measuring around 12.9in – roughly the size of the smaller Apple MacBook Pro’s screen.
Apple’s largest tablet should also be more focused on productivity like the Microsoft Surface Pro, with it’s larger working surface making it perfect for artists, designers and power users alike.
At a glance
- Expected screen size of 12.9″ with a 2,732 x 2,048 resolution (264ppi)
- Expected price of £700-900
- A9 processor with M9 coprocessor
- Force Touch
As the inevitable release date draws closer, we’ve gathered everything we know about the supersized tablet in one place.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Release date
Rumours suggest that the Apple iPad Pro/iPad Plus will be announced in October and available to buy in November 2015, with production beginning in September.
We can be confident about these dates because they perfectly match Apple’s traditional release schedule for iPads. The table below shows that, over the past few years, Apple has stuck to a rigid product cycle – new iPads are announced in October and released between one to three weeks later.
23 October 2012
2 November 2012
22 October 2013
1 November 2013
iPad Air 2
16 October 2014
22 October 2014
According to a report by digitimes, the new tablet will be made by Foxconn Electronics, who make many other Apple products, and will initially ship in lower numbers than many industry experts predicted. Analysts also expect the iPad Pro to start a trend of larger tablets from traditional Apple competitors like Samsung.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Screen
Not much is currently known about the iPad Pro, and even its name is still uncertain. Many believe it will use the Pro suffix shared by Apple’s more powerful hardware, but new rumours suggest it could be called the iPad Plus – borrowing the naming convention from the latest iPhone 6.
Rumours about hardware are more defined, with sources suggesting that Apple’s new tablet will feature a large, 12.9in screen. This would give the iPad Pro a bigger display than the new MacBook and make it more than 3in bigger than Apple’s current range-topping tablet, the iPad Air 2. However, a report from MacRumours suggests that code in iOS 9 points to a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 with a 264ppi – well below the iPhone 6 Plus’ 401ppi.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Processor
The table below shows that every new iPad has a ‘A’ processor, a supercharged version of the chip in the current iPhone. Last year’s iPad Air 2 received a powerful A8X chip, compared to the A8 in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This makes it likely that the iPad Pro will feature a new A9 processor and M9 coprocessor. Previous trends suggest this will also be the same processor used in the forthcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
iPad Air 2
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Force Touch and a USB Type-C
Due to its larger size, the iPad Pro could accommodate both more memory and two large built-in speakers – for increased sound output. Following on from features debuted in the MacBook and Apple Watch, it’s also possible that Apple’s new tablet will include Force Touch.
Force Touch works by sensing the pressure of clicks, and differentiating between a forceful click and a softer one. This means devices are able to detect the secondary clicks when only one finger is used. Although the feature is now on most Apple MacBooks, it’s particularly useful for tablets. It can produce a secondary space in the limited area of a touch screen, and also be used to differentiate brush strokes in art applications.
In addition to Force Touch, the iPad Pro/iPad Plus could also feature a USB Type-C connector. Previously seen on Apple’s latest MacBook, USB Type-C represents a new universal connection, designed for easy linking between devices. Already a surprise to see on a MacBook, it would be bold move for Apple to use it instead of a Lightning connector.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Battery life
You’d expect the iPad Pro/iPad Plus’ large 12.9 screen and powerful processor to drain its battery, but the standby performance of the iPhone 6 Plus suggests otherwise. Thanks to its larger screen and chassis, iPhone 6 Plus had room to squeeze in a much larger battery. The result? The increased size is more than compensated by the larger battery capacity, giving the iPhone 6 Plus a standby time of 384 hours, compared to the standard iPhone 6’s 250 hours. Hopefully, the iPad Pro/iPad Plus will benefit from a similar solution, and produce a operating time longer than the iPad Air 2’s 10 hours.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Design
Although its screen dwarfs that of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, it’s likely that the iPad Air Plus/iPad Pro will continue with the same design language seen in Apple’s smaller tablets. That means the largest iPad will be available in three colours – Space Grey, Aluminium and Gold – and feature the same chamfered edges and premium aesthetic used in the rest of the range. Mockups by Martin Hajek currently offer the best glimpse of what the iPad Pro might look like.
iPad Pro/iPad Plus: Pricing
Although it’s impossible to know how much Apple will charge for its new device, you can make an educated guess by looking at the current tablet market. The iPad Air 2 is Apple’s most expensive tablet, starting at an asking price of £400, while Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 begins at £637. Significantly, the Surface Pro 3 is set to be the iPad Pro’s closest competitor, so those looking to pick up the iPad Pro will probably have to pay anything from £700 to £900, depending on the memory options.