Cupertino could launch the 9.7-inch iPad Pro 2 as early as next week, according to Japanese site Macotakara. This news suggests Apple might not hold a springtime event, which has long been expected.
According to the report, the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro could launch with the same specifications as the current model, except for the introduction of an “A10X” chip. The chip, an enhanced version of the A10 found on the iPhone 7, would replace the A9X chip on the current tablet model.
If this occurs, the current model will replace the iPad Air 2 as the entry-level 9.7-inch tablet in Apple’s lineup. For now, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with A9X chip has an entry price of $599, while the A8X-powered iPad Air 2 starts at $399.
What about the other 2017 iPads?
It’s been rumored that Apple will unveil at least three new iPads this year. Besides the 9.7-inch iPad Pro 2, there could be a new “10.5-inch iPad Pro” and second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is likely to ship bezel-free using the same footprint as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
It makes sense were Apple to quietly release a new 9.7-inch model without a press event since the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to become the company’s next flagship tablet. By omitting the 9.7-inch model from its presentation, Apple could put all of its resources behind promoting the more expensive models.
Of course, we still don’t know when Apple’s spring event will be.
Earlier in the week, MacRumors, citing supplier contacts, said the event would occur between March 20 and March 24. That’s no longer possible, given where we are on the calendar. Therefore, we’re probably now going to see the event held during the first few weeks of April, at the earliest.
Two months ago, DigiTimes suggested that Apple wouldn’t launch the 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros until the fall. If Apple doesn’t announce a spring event soon, this prediction could very well turn out being true.
Take a look at our complete iPad rumor roundup with more information about the possible new tablets.