Rumour: Is Apple about to launch new iPads?

Alex Kidman 14 March 2017 NEWS

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New models of Apple’s popular tablets are reportedly due to be released next week.

While Apple saves the biggest and loudest hype for its iPhone models, there’s no doubt that it’s had just as much success with its iPad tablet line. Arguably maybe more, given that while Apple didn’t invent the tablet computer by a very long shot, it managed to make it a viable consumer category at a time when the only tablets sold were for very specific business niches.

Still, consumers don’t upgrade their tablets anywhere near as rapidly as they do their phones and Apple’s upgrade path for its iPad line has been relatively sluggish of late. 2016 saw the debut of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but that was essentially just the boiled down 12.9-inch iPad Pro model that was first released in 2015. Excluding the iPad Pro, it’s been even longer since the last iPad upgrade, with the iPad Air 2 released all the way back in 2014.

If you’ve been hanging out for an iPad refresh, you may not have all that much longer to wait. Macrumors reports on "anonymous sources" that state that Apple will launch a new set of iPads next week without particular fanfare or a specific media launch.

The current rumours suggest that Apple will go with a trio of iPad Pro models in the already existing 9.7- and 12.9-inch sizes, as well as a new 10.5-inch model. It’s also suggested that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model may drop the home button entirely in order to give it the same basic size as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Apple may well be feeling the pressure from other tablet brands, with Microsoft's very popular Surface Pro and Surface Book lines pushing the productivity argument and arch-rival Samsung using its Mobile World Congress 2017 launch to announce three new Galaxy-branded tablets.

As with all rumours surrounding Apple, some serious grains of salt are required, although the timing in terms of when the 9.7-inch model appeared last year would suggest that a refresh is likely to occur sooner rather than later.

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