Apple launched its largest ever tablet in September last year. The iPad Pro 12.9 came with a huge 12.9-inch screen, supported the Apple Pencil stylus and packed a powerful processor - it was a big change to the iPad game.
We were big fans, giving it 4.5-stars in our full TechRadar review, praising the slate for its impressive front-facing speakers and great display among other things.
But we need a new large-screen iPad for 2016, and the good news is it's possible we'll get one: the rumored device is likely to replace both Pro models and may come in a third size too. Here's everything we know so far about the iPad Pro 2.
Cut to the case
- What is it? The next tablet from Apple
- When is it out? Possibly September 2016 alongside the iPhone 7, but could shift to early 2017
- What will it cost? It'll be expensive. Expect $799 (£679, AU$1249)
iPad Pro 2 release date
The original iPad Pro is almost a year old and we'd usually expect Apple to update it on its birthday, but considering the iPad Pro 9.7 came out earlier this year and demand for new tablets isn't high at the moment it may be a little bit longer until we see the iPad Pro 2.
So far there's no sign of an official launch date, but we'll keep our eyes peeled. Maybe there will be some word at the iPhone 7 launch, which is expected on September 7, but with that date fast approaching and little iPad Pro 2 news we suspect the slate won't arrive until early 2017.
TechRadar's take: A September launch is possible, but with no immediate sign of the slate and the iPad Pro 9.7 already launching this year it's likely that the iPad Pro 2 will slip into 2017, possibly launching in March, as the iPad Pro 9.7 launched in March 2016.
iPad Pro 2 price
There's no news on pricing yet, so we only have the original iPad Pro's pricing to go from. That starts at $599 (£499, AU$899) for the 9.7-inch model and $799 (£679, AU$1249) for the 12.9-inch one, so with pricing likely to be similar for the Pro 2 it certainly won't be easy on the wallet.
iPad Pro 2 design
- A slimmer, lighter slate
- Water resistance
- No headphone port
Not much is known about the iPad Pro 2 just yet – but leaked photos of a new Apple tablet have shown off what some believe to be the iPad Pro 2.
They came from a source working on the Chinese supply line – according to Apple Insider – and show off the tablet's screen with a model number of MH1Z2CD/F.
That number's not attached to any existing product, so it'd make sense for this to be the iPad Pro 2. The photos don't show off any specific changes though, so it may look just like the original iPad Pro tablet.
That wouldn't be a surprise, especially as Apple only just reinvented the iPad to some extent with the launch of the Pro range.
That said, there's a fair chance the company will try to make the new slates slimmer and lighter, as this is something Apple often does with new models and it could really benefit the larger model, as the iPad Pro 12.9 weighs a hefty 713g.
Apple is widely rumored to be removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone, in part perhaps to make the phone slimmer, and if it does another possible change that would make sense is for it to also remove the port from the iPad.
Apple may also make the iPad Pro 2 water and dust resistant, as it's rumored to be doing that for the iPhone 7 and while a tablet - which is typically used indoors - is arguably less in need of that protection it would still help defend it against spilled drinks.
TechRadar's take: We're not expecting big changes to the design of the iPad Pro 2, but it may well get slimmer and lighter, as well as borrowing some design cues from the iPhone 7.
iPad Pro 2 screen
- Three sizes
- A True Tone display
According to a research note from a respected analyst, the iPad Pro 2 will come in three different sizes. There'll be 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch models, just like with the original range, but there'll also apparently be a 10.5-inch version.
The note doesn't mention the resolution or any other details, but we can predict that all models of the iPad Pro 2 will come with a True Tone display, which debuted on the iPad Pro 9.7. True Tone allows your tablet to alter the screen's color temperature depending on the ambient lighting of where you use it, so you can see the image properly no matter what conditions you're in.
Apple rarely changes the resolution of its device's screens; in fact, it hasn't upped the 9.7-inch iPad's resolution since the iPad 3 in 2012. You could argue that it's due a jump by this point, but the 1536 x 2048 display doesn't feel lacking, so we expect the iPad Pro 2 9.7 will keep that resolution.
Similarly, the iPad Pro 2 12.9 will probably stay at 2048 x 2732 and the iPad Pro 2 10.5 - if it exists, which feels unlikely given it would be far too close to the 9.7-inch model in screen size - will presumably slot somewhere in the middle.
We'd expect to see some improvements to the display, but like the addition of True Tone on the iPad Pro 9.7 these are likely to be software tweaks or technology improvements, rather than an increased resolution.
One such improvement could be 3D Touch, which you'll find on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. This essentially makes the screen pressure-sensitive, so a hard press on something will yield different results to a light one.
Bigger changes could come with the iPad Pro 3, likely in 2018, with talk of a curved AMOLED display.
TechRadar's take: The iPad Pro 2 12.9 is bound to have a True Tone display since the iPad Pro 9.7 does, and Apple is likely to improve and refine the screen too, but probably won't change the resolution.
iPad Pro 2 camera and battery
- A bigger battery
The iPad Pro 9.7 has a 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing one, so we'd expect at least that from the iPad Pro 2.
Chances are Apple won't change the megapixel count, as both cameras on the iPad Pro 9.7 are already an upgrade on the iPad Pro 12.9's snappers.
There's no news on what the battery size will be, and in any case it's likely to vary depending on which screen size you opt for. But there's hope that it will be bigger than the batteries in current iPads, as Apple is rumored to be using Fan-Out technology in the new iPhone, which allows components to be combined, reducing their size and leaving more room for a battery.
Even if that turns out to be true there's no guarantee that Apple will use the same tech in the iPad Pro 2, but it's a distinct possibility given battery life is a key selling point for any portable electronics.
TechRadar's take: The camera is often an afterthought on the iPad range - and rightly so. As such we don't expect big changes here, especially as Apple improved the camera for the iPad Pro 9.7, but a larger battery is likely.
iPad Pro 2 OS and power
- A powerful A10X processor
- iOS 10
- 4GB of RAM
We'd fully expect the iPad Pro 2 will launch with iOS 10 - Apple's latest mobile operating system software upgrade - that is expected to land for phones and tablets in September this year. iOS 10 includes big improvements to Siri, the ability to live broadcast apps, a new look (and a lot less clutter) in the Control Center and more besides.
It wouldn't be a new iPad without a new processor and Apple is rumored to be sticking an A10X chip in the iPad Pro 2. Although the only current rumors on the chip state that while the 12.9 and 10.5-inch models will get the new chip, with the 9.7-inch one sticking with the same A9X processor as the current models, marking it out as a lower end option.
It's hard to gauge how powerful the new chip will be, but it's going to be an upgrade on the dual-core 2.26GHz A9X and potentially a big upgrade, as there's some talk that the iPhone 7 will be powered by a hexa-core A10 chip - and the A10X will be more powerful still than whatever spec the A10 ends up being.
We could also see more RAM in the iPad Pro 2, or at least the 9.7-inch model. The iPad Pro 12.9 already has 4GB of RAM, but the iPad Pro 9.7 has just 2GB, so it would make sense for Apple to push the new model up in line with the 12.9-inch slate (and if we get a 10.5-inch model to equip that with 4GB of RAM too).
TechRadar's take: It's unlikely Apple will jump from two to six cores for the A10X chip, but it's bound to be very powerful all the same, and a sharp step forward in graphics processing especially. 4GB of RAM across the board would make sense and iOS 10 is all but guaranteed.
iPad Pro 2 other features
- A pressure-sensitive home button
The Smart Connector is bound to make a return, giving users an easy way to connect keyboards and other accessories to the slate. The iPad Pro 2 will obviously support the Apple Pencil and there's every chance Apple will release new versions of the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard alongside it.
Beyond that we can look to the iPhone 7 for other possible features, such as a pressure-sensitive home button, which could vibrate rather than physically clicking and do different things depending on how hard you press it.
TechRadar's take: There's no way Apple will ditch the Smart Connector, as it's one of the iPad Pro's defining features. We're not convinced we'll get a pressure-sensitive home button though, as it's not yet been linked to the iPad Pro 2 and is far from guaranteed even on the iPhone 7.
iPad Pro 2 rivals
The iPad Pro 2, particularly in its larger sizes, is likely to be positioned as a laptop alternative, which means it will be competing with the Microsoft Surface Pro range, which is currently up to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and by spring 2017 should include the Microsoft Surface Pro 5.
These slates are powerful, expensive and support similar accessories, like a stylus and a keyboard. But they run Windows 10, which means an inferior app selection but a more laptop-like experience.
- Check out our full Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review and all the information on the Microsoft Surface Pro 5
The original iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 9.7 will likely be rivals too, as they will probably stay on sale for a reduced price - and given the larger model especially still feels like it's got power oozing out the edges, it will remain an attractive option, especially if it becomes more affordable.
There's less direct competition from any Android slates, but despite getting on a bit the Google Pixel C could prove a tempting alternative, with its premium build, great screen and keyboard accessory - and we're expecting Google to come out with a decent upgrade soon too.
- Check out our full Google Pixel C review