Can another iPad be Apple Inc.'s next big thing? Cupertino is said to be readying a bigger, more powerful "pro" version of its tablet, to take on Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 and Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro.
While the tablet expected to be even larger than the current iPad Air, that won't be the only thing that distinguishes it.
The so-called “iPad Pro” is expected to come with a 12.9-inch screen and a number of new features including NFC (near-field communication), a Bluetooth stylus and redesigned touch screen, according to unnamed sources speaking to AppleInsider. NFC had previously been introduced in the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Apple Watch to use with Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment system. But for the iPad Pro, the wireless technology may take on additional uses. These may include using it to turn the iPad Pro as a mobile payment terminal or more traditional NFC uses such as device pairing.
Force Touch, a feature first introduced in the Apple Watch and redesigned MacBook, could also find its way into the tablet’s touchscreen. The technology enables a touchscreen or trackpad to tell the difference between a tap and a hard press.
Users of the iPad Pro may also be able to control it through an included Bluetooth stylus. That may also come with pressure-sensitive features which can be used with sketching and drawing apps. While it may add more ways to control the iPad, the inclusion of a stylus would be a huge departure from Steve Jobs’ previous views on the control accessory. “It's like we said on the iPad: if you see a stylus, they blew it,” he said in 2010.
Likely to make it way into the iPad Pro is the A8X, an upgraded version of the A8 processor found in the latest iPhones. The tablet had previously been expected to debut in March, but display manufacturing problems had reportedly delayed its launch.