Release Date, News and Rumors of iPad Pro

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With Apple’s thinner, lighter iPad Air and Retina display-equipped iPad mini out in the open, what’s left for Apple to do? Rumor has it that the Mac maker is working on an even larger iPad, commonly referred to as the “iPad Pro.” We’ve combed through all of the rumors and scuttlebutt to bring you everything we’ve heard so far about this alleged iPad Pro.

iPad Pro Release Date

The iPad Pro release date will be in 2014, following the iPad Air, which released November 1, 2013. However, there are many rumors regarding the tablet’s firm release date. Unnamed Foxconn sources have told Chinese news site Pad News that Apple plans either a late winter/spring or October 2014 release date. To further confuse things, these sources also claim that Apple is working on two versions of the pro-level slate.

According to Pad News, an iPad Pro with a 2K screen resolution will launch in April 2014, while a 4K iPad Pro will land in October. Korea Times’s sources at a “local first-tier display supplier” report that a single version will launch “sometime early next year” with a nearly UHD resolution. Even more sources reporting to China’s United Daily News, point to another iPad Pro manufacturing partner entirely: Quanta Computer. This company currently helps produce Macs and iPods for Apple, but has yet to build tablets. That said, a brand new manufacturing partner for a brand new device would make an October release more likely.

iPad Pro Design

It’s doubtful that Apple would do much to change the shape of the iPad Pro in its leap to 12.9 inches, the supposed size most rumors point to. The iPad Air’s design was applauded by critics (us included), and early sales projections say that consumers are into it. It should go without saying that the iPad Pro will inevitably be heavier than the iPad Air. To even meet the iPad Air’s feathery 453.6 g at 12.9 inches would be a miracle of modern engineering. That said, not much should stop Apple from meeting the Air’s super svelte profile at 7.5 mm thin.

iPad Pro Storage

This is Apple’s chance to differentiate the iPad Pro from the iPad Air even further. Professionals expect lots of space from their computing platform of choice, and while the current 128GB iPad maximum is nice, it might not be enough. Of course, a 256GB, 12.9-inch iPad would cost a small fortune, but what does the end user care when it’s on company dollar?

iPad Pro Screen

This is where things get way interesting. First, the Korea Times reported, citing Apple’s “local first-tier display supplier,” that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will sport an almost-UHD resolution when it arrives in early 2014. A later rumor, this time from China’s Pad News, pointed to both 2K and 4K resolution iPad Pro models in the works. Per the story, Apple is prototyping a 2K model that would likely exceed that of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9′s 2560 x 1600 (264 pixels per inch) and blow away the iPad Air’s 2048 x 1536 (339 ppi).

A 4K iPad Pro would likely come in around 4096 x 3072, beating the 4K TVs available today. Pad News also claims that Apple intends to launch both of these prototypes in 2014, with a 2K version to come in April and a 4K model to launch in October. It seems unlikely to us that Apple would release two models in the same year. No, wait, that’s already happened.

iPad Pro Processor

Again, this shouldn’t be a major shocker. While actual rumors are scarce, the iPad Pro will almost undoubtedly use a beefier version of of Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip, if not an all-new A8 processor. That said, it looks like Apple intends to drop the amount of Samsung-made A8 chips in 2014, thanks to its increasingly intense rivalry with the Korean handset maker. At any rate, expect even further gains in power and battery life from Apple’s latest processor. What will be more interesting to see is whether 64-bit processing has an effect on the iPad Pro’s enterprise capabilities.