Apple’s next iPads are coming and the company may be about to break with its current pattern of releasing an updated entry-level iPad in the spring (though not every year) and a Pro or two in the fall. New evidence spotted by MySmartPrice suggests that there may be as many as seven different variants later this year, including a new entry-level tablet with a whole new design.
How do we know this?
The Eurasian Economic Commission is the place that Apple leaked the information. Of course, Apple really doesn’t care to leak anything but for regulatory reasons it has to place details with the commission some months before a product can go on sale in the five countries it works across: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
No surprise that the company reveals not one scintilla more information than it absolutely has to. Earlier this month, Apple filed certification documents for five model numbers. These, if you like this kind of statistical completeness, were: A2068, A2197, A2198, A2228 and A2230.
In the last few hours, there have been two more certifications, A2200 and A2232.
Apple iPad as released in Spring 2018. Is it about to get a radical makeover?
How do we know they’re iPads?
Well, there’s a little more information in the filing. The latest ones have a line which states:
Product Name Full Tablet computers of the trademark ‘Apple’ models A2200, A2232 (iPad OS software version 13)
That’s pretty clear, right?
So what are these seven iPads?
It’s likely that there will be refreshes of the two iPad Pro models released last October, in the same screen sizes of 11in and 12.9in. These may be the five numbers discovered earlier in the month.
Apple iPad Pro, as released last October.
What, five new iPad Pros?
Unlikely. There will probably be two codes for 11in models, one for wi-fi, one for wi-fi plus cellular. Another two for the 12.9in model. Since the commission works across multiple territories it may be that different code numbers are needed for different regions, though exactly what the fifth code is for isn’t clear.
The current Apple iPad Air with Smart Keyboard.
So what’s the radically different iPad?
Glad you asked. In Spring 2018, Apple refreshed its entry-level iPad, bringing Pencil compatibility to the most affordable tablet in the range. But there was no design change and no compatibility with the Apple smart keyboard.
That iPad remains phenomenal value but it’s true that the design is beginning to look a little dated.
This year was the turn for the next level up of iPad to appear, the new iPad Air, based on the design of the earlier iPad Pro 10.5, complete with keyboard compatibility as well as Pencil functionality. An updated iPad mini also appeared.
Since it’s been well over a year since the basic iPad has been updated, and since the design is ageing, this would be the perfect time to completely redesign the lowest-priced iPad.
The latest iPad mini, released in Spring 2019.
A new design, then?
In fact, it would arguably be the first major design shift since the original iPad Air, released back in late 2013, on which the current chassis is based.
The rumors that have been doing the rounds for some months now are that the next iPad will be the very first time an entry-level tablet will have a display size that’s anything other than 9.7in.
Apparently, the next iPad will come with a 10.2in display. In other words, not quite as big as the current iPad Air, but noticeably bigger than any entry-level tablet the company has made before.
What does it look like?
There are no leaked images for us to look at but I believe the next iPad will be very similar in size to the last model but with narrower bezels, especially at the top and bottom.
I believe it will still use Touch ID, rather than the Face ID on the current iPad Pro models.
Still, a bigger screen on a tablet likely to be the same weight or lighter, and the same size or smaller when compared to the iPad now, is intriguing.
The current Apple iPad Air with its 10.5in screen, plus Smart Keyboard.
How do you know it won’t be a 10.5in screen?
Well, I don’t except that’s the size of the screen for the current iPad Air and it the new entry-level device has the same size display as the significantly pricier Air, then that’s the end of one big reason to choose the iPad Air. It’s possible, of course, but I don’t think so.
When will it go on sale and how much?
The usual order for things is that a new iPhone or three will be revealed in September and any tablet will pop up at a separate launch event either later in September or, more likely, October.
Apple has traditionally priced its entry-level tablet very keenly – it’s currently $329 (£319 in the U.K.) and I don’t expect this will change.
As more details emerge I’ll be updating this feature, so please check back, here at Forbes.
I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am always struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to regular repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. Over the years I’ve written about gadgets for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Parenthetically, I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a stint on Hollyoaks. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or Twitter: @davidphelan2009.