iPad Pro release date, news and rumours

Everything we've heard about the iPad Pro so far

iPad Pro release date news and rumors

iPad Pro keyboard case

Back before the iPad Air unveiling, former Apple fellow Jamie Ryan claimed to have heard from current Apple employees that an iPad keyboard case was in the prototyping stage. Ryan went on to say that the keyboard case mimicked the Microsoft Surface Touch Cover.

While it didn't make the latest iPad debut, the iPad Pro would provide the perfect stage for the reveal of Apple's proprietary iPad keyboard case. Ideally, this keyboard would connect physically to the tablet much like the Smart Cover does today, but use Bluetooth for the interaction. Plus, an included keyboard would all but be a must for a professional-grade tablet.

Ask and ye shall receive! As of March 27, Apple has released a patent detailing a keyboard cover, combed over by none other than AppleInsider. The patent illustration paints the picture of something similar to the existing iPad Smart Cover, but with a detachable portion replete with touch-sensitive keys. Now, you tell me what a keyboard cover would be ideal for.

iPad Pro release date news and rumors
This is how an iPad Pro stylus might work

What would an iPad Pro be with an iPen?

Despite late Apple chief Steve Jobs's derisive comments on styluses before, rumour has it that the Mac maker just might go through with creating a stylus for the would-be iPad Pro. The above image comes from one of Apple's alleged 20 patent filings regarding a potential iPen, Patenly Apple reports.

Reputable analyst Ming-Chu Kuo of KGI Securities has produced a report which backs Apple to introduce a stylus with the iPad Pro, which he predicts will surface in the second quarter of 2015, Apple Insider reports. Kuo formed his prediction on several stylus-related patents filed by the company, in addition to his own research. In the report, Kuo notes that in some cases styluses can be more convenient that keyboard and mouse setups, and that Apple may move beyond traditional 2D input to 3D handwriting sometime beyond 2015.

While it might sound silly for Apple to head down this road, it might be a necessary move. Lacking a stylus could be a ding against a potential iPad Pro when the business-minded Galaxy Note Pro line rocks Samsung's S-Pen.

Patently Apple strikes again, unveiling even more Apple patents for a possible iPen accessory. This time, details include potential features like a laser pointer, the ability to project images and scanning capabilities among other. If Apple really is to make an iPen, it will be more than just any old smart stylus.

Update: A report from AppleInsider claims that a Bluetooth stylus in the works for the iPad Pro, and is designed to allow for increased productivity on a larger display. This could allow it to go head-to-head with other pen-toting devices such as Samsung's S Pen-equipped Galaxy tablets and Microsoft's Surface line.

iPad Pro, meet iOS 8

While no rumours specifically point to this, it's pretty much a given that the iPad Pro will run the latest iOS. If the pro-level pad had launched in October 2014, then this is almost a certainty, as we expect iOS 8 to launch alongside the awaited iPhone 6 in September. However, our friends at MacLife seem to disagree.

The latest rumour, as of May 13, surrounding iOS 8 makes it sound as if the refreshed operating system will be crafted with larger screens in mind across the board. 9to5Mac recently reported that iOS 8 will ape split-screen multitasking from devices like Microsoft's Surface. That would definitely be an iPad Pro-ductivity booster. Get it? I'm here all week, try the veal.

iPad Pro

iPad Pro storage

This is Apple's chance to differentiate the iPad Pro from the iPad Air even further. Professionals expect lots of space from their computing platform of choice, and while the current 128GB iPadmaximum is nice, it might not be enough.

Of course, a 256GB, 12.9-inch iPad would cost a small fortune, but what does the end user care when it's on company dollar?

iPad Pro home button

You can bet the farm that Apple will include its TouchID technology into the iPad Pro home button. Fingerprint security has become all but a must-have feature on enterprise laptops, and this professional iPad will have to meet that standard to gain better traction.

Rumours point to an iPhone 6 prototype having no home button, according to Business Insider. But that seems an unlikely fate for both devices, given that the iDevice form factor is minimalist enough as is.