Ready for new iPads? Here's more evidence revamped Apple tablets could arrive soon

From testing to trusted sources

Signs are pointing – nay, flashing – to new iPads on the way from Apple soon, including apparent tablet testing taking place around the company's California headquarters.

As spotted by Fiksu (via TechCrunch), a mobile insights firm that tracks app usage, four never-before-seen iPad models are being put through their paces in Cupertino and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. 

Fiksu notes four distinct models – iPad 7,3, iPad 7,4, iPad 7,2 and iPad 7,1 – are popping up in its SDK tracking analytics. Previously, Fiksu noticed iPad model numbers 6,3/6,4 and 6,7/6,8 in the lead up to Apple's last tablet launch. The iPad Pro 9.7 released in March 2016.

If Fiksu's data is accurate, Apple is probably testing a quartet of tablets yet may only release two or three. According to the data, the operating system on these clandestine slates is a blend of iOS 10.3 beta and iOS 11, an OS that hasn't released to the public yet. This could be another sign the tablets are brand-new hardware and not dog-eared devices.

New iPad launch... next week?

Rumors point to Apple launching three iPads when the time comes: the updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, an all-new model in the 10.5- to 10.9-inch range, and an updated iPad Pro 9.7. One of the biggest changes we'll likely see with the new tablets are slimmer bezels, as well as other improvements, like upgraded processors.

We may meet these devices sooner rather than later as MacRumors, citing trusted supply chain analysts, says Apple could announce the updated slates later this month. The most likely dates for the welcome party ? Sometime between March 20 and March 24, the site says.

In case you haven't checked your calendar yet, that's next week. While it'd be a tight turnaround for Apple to send out invites for a launch event taking place in seven days, it's not totally out of the question. 

What's more likely, however, is that Apple will either send invites for an event even later in March or sometime in April. Or, the iPhone maker could simply unveil its new tablets on its website and via press release, without the fanfare of an official event. 

With Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing "exciting things coming on iPad" during the company's most recent earnings call, we have a feeling Apple will throw an event to show off the innovations it's been working on, especially as it looks to return the iPad to its former glory after months of disappointing sales.

With new iPad rumors coming in faster than ever, we'll likely see what Apple has up its (very big) sleeve before long.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle is TechRadar's Senior News Editor, based in the Bay Area. Covering every corner of the industry, Michelle aims to bring you the most useful and entertaining bits about the gadgets you love. Her most exhilarating moment as a tech journalist so far is riding in a self-driving car. Got a tip? Drop her a line!