There are three announcements we’ve been waiting for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to make in the near future:
- A March special event to launch an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Air replacement.
- A third iPad –an all new 10.5-inch iPad Pro with design cues from the iPhone 8– seems ready to go in May or June.
- The move-in date for its new Apple Park “spaceship” campus.
A new report suggests the company is juggling the timelines and plans to hold an April Apple Event combining all three.
New iPads Are Overdue
Apple’s iPad lineup may not be doing the same business it once was, but it’s still due for a refresh.
The iPad Pro line aimed at prosumers is priced at a premium, helping to boost revenue for the division, but it competes against some tough adversaries, including Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface Pro. Apple is expected to release a next generation version of 2015’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro to stay current.
An all-new iPad Pro that is also expected in the late spring. This one is a 10.5-inch form factor, but it seems likely to borrow from the design of the upcoming iPhone 8, with an edge-to-edge display and virtual Home button. Doing so gives AAPL a physically smaller iPad Pro, with a display larger than the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, making it more useful for professionals.
The company is expected to also ship a replacement for the iPad Air 2, its full-sized consumer tablet that was released in 2014.
The new iPad Air and 12.9-inch iPad Pro were expected to be unveiled in March, but with the month half-over, an April Apple event seems more likely.
Such a move also jives with rumors back in January that AAPL might be experiencing some manufacturing challenges that could result in a later release.
New iPads Identified in the Wild
On Monday, 9to5 Mac broke the news that an analytics firm has detected the identifiers for new iPad models in app downloads in the Cupertino area. The model numbers show up as iPad 7,1; iPad 7,2; iPad 7,3 and iPad 7,4 — current iPad models show up in logs as iPad 6,x. 9to5 Mac notes that four new identifiers don’t necessarily mean four new models, as an iPad equipped with LTE has different numbers than the same version in a Wi-Fi-only option.
The new models first showed up last September, but the frequency accelerated rapidly in January and February, indicating the new iPads are getting close to being launch-ready.
Apple Park Ready for Its Grand Opening
Apple Park is AAPL’s massive new headquarters, nicknamed the “spaceship campus” because of its round, futuristic design.