Apple Event 2018, Big Question #7: What's to Come of the iPad Overhaul?

This could be unlike any other iPad.

ipad apple pencil tablet

This year’s Apple product keynote is almost upon us and while a majority of the hype has revolved around the triad of expected iPhones, a new line of iPad Pros might be on the horizon.

Most chatter suggests that the Cupertino-based company’s high-end tablets are slated for a pretty substantial facelift, which will make them look a lot closer to the iPhone X. A sleeker display, facial recognition capabilities, and a mysterious new port have all made the rounds of the blogosphere.

The iPad Pro line hasn’t received a refresh since June 2017 with the release of the 10.5 and 12.9-inch tablets. This is not to be confused with the recent release of the 9.7-inch iPad (2018) in May, which was geared towards educational applications and did not drastically change the device’s aesthetic.

iPad rendering.
An early render of what the iPad Pro redesign might look like.

While September might be iPhone season, we could be on the cusp of a iPad renaissance.

iPad Pro 2018: When Will It Launch?

Apple has scheduled its next big product launch for September 12. This could mean that a new iPad Pro could make a debut alongside this year’s iPhones, though there’s always the possibility that it could drop slightly later.

While not they’ve not taken place as consistently as in September, Apple has hosted media events in October in the past. September 2017 saw the release of the most recent set of iPhones as well as the AirPods. This was shortly followed by an October 2017 event for the Macs. It’s possible that the company could repeat this pattern this year by launching three new iPhones and the AirPower wireless charging pad, which would then be followed by two new iPad Pro models in October.

That said, there have been many years when Apple passed on an October event, so nothing is set in stone until after September 12.

iPad Pro 2018: Display

The most concrete prediction of how large these potential iPad Pros might comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in July. Similar to what is currently available, Kuo believes an 11 and 12.9-inch tablet will be dropped in 2018. But these screens could be unlike any other Apple tablet before them.

ipad pro render
A render of what this year's iPad Pros might look like according to smartphone leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer.

Renders produced by smartphone leaker Steven Hemmerstoffer show off how the 12.9-inch model could be closer to edge-to-edge display than ever before. Instead of increasing its size, this render purports that iPad Pro users would get more screen and less bezel.

MySmartPrice, the publication that posted Hemmerstoffer’s renders, claimed that the tablet will not come with an OLED screen, but with an IPS LCD panel. This type of display is said to support high-frame rates, resulting in a smoother picture.

iPad Pro 2018: Features

This is where the tablet begins to sound a lot like the iPhone X. The rumored device might ditch the fingerprint scanner for Face ID, lose its headphone jack, and add a never-before-seen port on the back panel.

Introducing Face ID seems very likely, seeing as even the 6.1-inch budget iPhone is expected to come with the feature. The same goes for the removal of the headphone jack. Apple removed the port from all of its smartphones beginning in 2017, with the debut of the AirPods as it works towards a completely wireless future.

The reoccurring leaks of alleged iPad Pro cases and rendered images showing a strange, oval-shaped hole above the Lighting port are still up in the air. Most chatter suggests this could be a repositioning of the Smart Connector, but the limited glimpses we’ve gotten have all been inconclusive.

So get ready, September could bring some massive changes to Apple’s high-end tablet.

Check out some of the other big questions we’re following ahead of next week’s big Apple announcement.