The iPad rumour mill has started turning for 2018. We look ahead to the iPad Pro 2’s release date, price & specs
- > Release date
- > UK price
- > Design
- > Tech specs and new features
Apple launched three new iPads in 2017, in 9.7in, 10.5in and 12.9in sizes. (We discuss their respective merits in our iPad buying guide.) But our thoughts are already turning to the next generation.
In this article we gather the rumours about the new iPads we’ll see in 2018, covering their specs, features, pricing and release date.
If you’re interested in smaller and cheaper tablets, take a look at our iPad Pro mini and iPad 9.7in rumour roundups, and for buying tips check out our guide to the best cheap iPad deals. (Credit for the main illustration goes to Martin Hajek.)
The most recent iPad Pro models were announced at WWDC 2017 on 5 June 2017 and are available to buy now. It’s reasonable to expect more announcements at WWDC 2018 next summer, but we’re hopeful that Apple will have more news at its customary spring press event: perhaps the iPad mini 5.
On 21 Feb the French-language site Consomac reported that Apple had registered two new devices, described as tablets running iOS 11, with the Eurasian commission database. Their model identifiers are A1954 and A1893.
This suggests an imminent announcement; similar filings were spotted for the iPhone 7 and AirPods just a fortnight before their launch event. A March unveiling now looks highly likely, although it is unknown whether this will take the form of a simple press release or a full media event as in 2015 and 2016.
Sources quoted by Bloomberg predict, on the other hand, that new iPads will be released “a little more than a year after the last major iPad Pro upgrade”, which suggests a late summer, early autumn timeframe – perhaps August or September 2018. This could refer to a more comprehensive update later in the year; it’s possible that the new models coming in early 2018 will be a more minor refresh.
The 10.5in iPad Pro starts at £619 for the 64GB with Wi-Fi model and £749 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model; while the 12.9in iPad Pro starts at £769 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model and £899 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
You can order the new iPad Pro models here.
Apple bumped up the prices in the UK as the pound weakened following the Brexit referendum result, and we fear that prices may rise again – if the pound continues to struggle, or if Apple decides to bring in an iPhone X-esque edge-to-edge screen, or both.
Apple is expected to bring across some of the design changes from the iPhone X to the iPad line-up in 2018.
Bloomberg’s sources expect “at least one” new iPad model to ditch the Home button and go for an edge-to-edge screen, replacing Touch ID with Face ID. The sources suggests that this model will have a screen size that’s close the currently offered 10.5in, but removing the Home button will enable Apple to push this closer to 11in, or keep it the same size while shrinking the chassis.
The sources don’t expect this screen to be OLED, however. They don’t say why not, but after the production difficulties (and supply shortages) that the iPhone X’s OLED screen seemingly caused, the company may be shy of going all-in on the technology just yet.
Speculation increased when code was discovered in the iOS 11.3 beta referring to a so-far unidentified “modern iPad”, which is presumably already in development. That might not sound like much to go on, but the last time Apple used that terminology was ahead of the iPhone X launch: it used the phrase “modern iPhone” as shorthand to differentiate the edge-to-edge screen and Face ID hardware from other phones launching around the same time.
It’s too early to expect any leaked photos or factory shots, but we’re seeing the first concept illustrations of the 2018 iPads. Remember that these are entirely unofficial: they’re designs that people unconnected to Apple have come up with as a way of visualising the most popular rumours.
Here are some images from the ever-creative Martin Hajek, who has gone for an edge-to-edge, Home-button-free, notched-screen design for the next iPad Pro model. He’s also chucked in a smart new Apple Pencil that looks great in black and silver.
Tech specs and new features
Let’s look next at the internal changes in the new iPads.
iPad Pro models generally include a modified version of the processor in the preceding iPhone – last time around the iPhone 7 came out with an A10 Fusion chip, and the iPads got an A10X Fusion.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X both come with the A11 Bionic processor, so we’d expect the iPad Pro models released in 2018 to feature a slightly souped-up A11X Bionic – although the A11 is terrifically fast already.