10.5in iPad Pro rumours: price, release date and features

In 2016, well-known industry analysts predicted there would be a new size of iPad in 2017 and rumours are hotting up that Apple will announce a 10.5 inch iPad within weeks, sure to be one of the best tablets of the year.

It's said to have "no screen bezels" and a "Touch ID sensor that works through the screen". Is it a myth or reality? Time will tell.

When is the 10.5in iPad release date?

Expected release date: June or September 2017

Speculation was rife for a spring launch, but Apple held no event and merely sent out press releases to announce the new 'budget' iPad 9.7in.

Others thought Apple would hold an event in April to coincide with the opening of the new Apple campus, dubbed the 'spaceship' but that didn't happen either.

The latest is a photo, via 9to5Mac, of a stock system which shows some new cases for an iPad 10.5" and a June release date.

The assumption is that they'll go on sale at the same time as the new iPad itself.

And Apple is holding WWDC in June from 5-9th, so there is a tiny chance that it might use the keynote to announce the tablet and - you'd imagine - explain why the world needs another screen size that's so close to the 9.7in model.

What features will the 10.5in iPad have?

Some reports say that Apple has been working on shoe-horning a bigger screen into a chassis the same size as the 9.7in iPad, which would mean a virtually bezel-less front.

Call it edge-to-edge or slim bezels: the only way the larger screen can fit is to do what a lot of the latest phones have and find a way to reduce the gap between the edge of the screen and the edge of the device itself.

This render from Armend keeps the Touch ID and home button on the front, but all the bezels are slimmer than the current 9.7in iPad Pro.

Increasing the screen size without changing the chassis dimensions could, however, mean Apple putting the home button and Touch ID sensor beneath the screen, and there are plenty of rumours - along with some patents - which suggest such a mechanism is under development (you can read about them in our iPhone 8 rumour roundup).

This concept image from Tailosive Tech shows what it could look like.

The reality is that there are few facts and much speculation about the design and features of the new iPad.

All the renders we've seen show a similar camera setup to the iPhone 7 Plus:

Supply chain sources appear to indicate that production has ramped up already, and that could be a sign an announcement will come soon.

It could also mean that the A10X chip, which is based on a 10nm process rather than 14nm for the A9X, is available in large quantities.

It's not trivial to shrink the manufacturing process and several reports in 2016 said Apple, or rather chip manufacturer TSMC was struggling to get good yields. This basically means that too many CPUs on each silicon wafer were duff, or wouldn't perform to the required speeds.

On top of this, no-one is sure whether the 10.5in iPad will be a 'Pro' model or not. It would be strange it if weren't: a redesign, a new screen and a new, powerful processor are a recipe for a tablet that can run multiple apps at once, will work with the Apple Pencil and have an optional keyboard.

Developers have also found references to 120fps (120 frames per second) in Xcode. This has been taken to mean a future iPad will have a screen capable of refreshing 120 times per second.

The current Pros have 60Hz screens, so are limited to displaying 60 frames per second. That's not ideal because, although fast, there are lots of faster screens around these days (mainly gaming monitors) and a faster refresh rate could mean even less lag when using an Apple Pencil.

We can, then, form a tentative spec list for the 10.5in iPad Pro:

10.5in True Tone screen, 120Hz
Apple A10X chip (with M10 co-processor)
Pencil support
Smart connector for keyboard
Quad-speaker system

How much will the 10.5in iPad cost?

The sensible money is on the new model costing more than the existing 9.7in iPad Pro. That starts at £549 for the 32GB model.

The 12.9in version starts at £729, so there's plenty of room in the middle, say £629, for the base model of the 10.5in iPad Pro.

As with the other models, you'd pay £99 for an Apple Pencil and around £149 for a Smart Keyboard.

Of course, this is educated guesswork: we'll have to wait until Apple announces the hardware along with official pricing.

It will also depend upon how much storage is offered in the base model. Let's hope the next generation prompts a shift to 64GB rather than 32GB.

As ever, we'll update this when new rumours - and facts - surface.

IDG Insider


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