Will Apple’s ‘X factor’ translate to the iPad Pro 2018?

Posted by Cassandra Halebury on

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As the all-new iPhone X continues its rapid rollout, pundits are looking to next year pondering what the future iPad will bring.

The big tip is the iPad Pro will have a revamp embracing Face ID and much of the technology currently popular in the latest top-of-the-range iPhone, so let’s take a look at the predictions so far…

Release date

Up until recently Apple had a pretty regular schedule when it came to big releases - iPhones were announced in the autumn quarter, iPads in the spring, but that playing field has changed a little with the iPad Pro.

The original Pro launched in November 2015, followed by the 9.7-inch model in March 2016, and the 10.5 and updated 12.9-inch Pro in June 2017.

Roughly a year apart (give or take), that means a third generation Pro looks likely for mid next year, with TechRadar noting that could mean June, “though a couple of months either side of that is very possible too”.

And they’re hoping for some big changes as Apple tries, but is still yet to completely master, a market where they’re courting people seeking a laptop replacement.

Here are the tips of what an iPad Pro could deliver in Pro 3…

Face ID

The biggest rumors about the ‘iPad Pro 3’ come to us courtesy of renowned analyst of all-things Apple, Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities. Last month he tipped the iPad Pro would follow the lead of the latest iPhone, using facial recognition rather than Touch ID to unlock the device and process payments.

True Depth Camera

FaceID relies on Apple’s new True Depth Camera. This is cutting edge camera technology that utilizes a host of processes to quickly identify a face.

As Apple explains: “It projects and analyses more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face”.

True Depth Camera also allows for high-quality images, and the creation of animated emojis or “Animojis”.

Two sizes

After the release of the acclaimed 12.9-inch iPad Pro in 2015, Apple swiftly added a 9.7-inch varietal to the range. Despite its popularity, that size now looks to have disappeared, with Apple instead embracing an education and corporate-friendly mid-size tablet in the form of the 10.5-inch Pro.

TechRadar tips 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch are the two sizes that will remain available, with the 9.7-inch relegated to the cheaper models.

Water resistance

For years users had been calling on Apple to add a little water resistance to their devices, and that was finally delivered in the iPhone 7. The big question is... will this translate to the iPad Pro?

The truth is iPads can and do get wet, operating in kitchens, being transported in the rain, and enduring the occasional spilled drink.

No Home Button

The biggest question for many is will iPad Pro 3 retain the Home button, with the recent iPhone X abandoning this seminal Apple feature. And speculators have mixed predictions as to whether this could occur.

Apple Insider notes Kuo made no predictions as to the form factor of any pending iPad Pro.

“Accordingly, he did not say whether such an iPad would sport an OLED display, or ditch the home button, like the iPhone X,” they explain.

Meanwhile, Livewire tips they won’t, despite Apple “being done with fingerprint recognition”.

“One thing that may hold Apple back is company policy.  Not Apple's policy, of course, but other companies that have yet to approve face recognition as an acceptable security feature. With the iPad Pro being aimed at the enterprise, Apple might delay replacing the Home Button... for now.”

No bevel screen?

While the iPhone X has reinvented itself as a full-screen device, whether or not the iPad Pro 3 goes down that track will depend on the Home Button.

“An iPad that is all screen would need either Face ID or the ability to use Touch ID by pressing the screen itself, which is another technology Apple has been playing around with these days,” Livewire explains.

“This one is definitely in the works.  Apple loves to make the most of every inch of the iPad, and currently, the Home Button is wasting space.”

Price point

There’s no mincing words here, the iPad Pro is an expensive device, and that’s unlikely to change over the coming years. The current Pro 10.5 starts at US $649, but packs some serious specs into this high price tag.

Many are hoping the iPad Pro 3 will incorporate even more, with perhaps some cheaper accessories and greater operational ability on the side.

TechRadar notes better, lower priced accessories would help the iPad Pro meet its aim of replacing laptops, along with further changes to iOS, bringing it more in line with a desktop operating system.

“More full, desktop quality software, such as Photoshop, would help too. To some extent that’s out of Apple’s hands, but it could make deals with developers, or just make the platform more appealing to them.”

The final word

This year was a big one for Apple with the release of its 10th anniversary iPhone. And the upgrades witnessed in the iPhone X have been warmly received. On pre-order day Apple sold out of its iPhone X stock within minutes. The company’s also expecting record sales over Christmas with the iPhone X representing a large portion of that revenue.

It remains to be seen whether Apple can match such popularity with its equivalent iPad device, bringing the X factor into the iPad Pro realm.

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