Apple Inc must not like Mark Gurman very much at the moment. The reporter for the Apple news website 9to5Mac is not on any of the company's press lists, doesn't get invited to its big events or have access to any of its products.
Yet Gurman consistently trumps reporters at other outlets with much greater access to Apple for news about yet-to-be-released products. The lead up to the Hey Siri media event, which is taking place later Wednesday, has been his crowning achievement to date, revealing details about the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, all the features of the fourth generation Apple TV and crucially that Apple would in fact be unveiling an iPad Pro at the event.
With just hours to go before the event kicks off at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco, he has even more details to reveal.
The biggest revelation is the price of the iPad Pro, which as always comes from Gurman's hugely reliable sources who are mostly Apple employees. Gurman says that the price of the base iPad Pro will be $799 which is $300 higher than the base model iPad Air 2.
Apple is however set to boost the base model to 32GB from 16GB on current iPad models, while also offering 64GB and 128GB models, which Gurman says will cost $899 and $999 respectively. As the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to be aimed at enterprise customers, the 4G-enabled model will be very important and Apple will offer this for an extra $130, giving you a maximum price tag of $1,129 for the 128GB iPad Pro with LTE, which as Gurman points out is just about the same as the base model Retina MacBook.
Expected to feature a design similar to the iPad Air and iPad mini, the iPad Pro will come with a screen resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, and feature front and rear cameras. The iPad Pro is expected to come with a stylus and Apple is also said to be preparing its own keyboard case as well as making it more open to use, with a wider array of Bluetooth keyboards.
Apple needs to do something with its tablet range, with sales slowing significantly. In the last quarter, Apple sold 10.9 million iPads, which was down from 13.2 million in the same period last year, reflecting an ongoing slide in sales of its tablet range. Just over a year ago, Apple signed a deal with IBM to to leverage the latter's deep roots in enterprise to help sell to that huge market, and while Apple CEO Tim Cook says this partnership is still "in its early stages," it could reap big rewards with the iPad Pro.
While the iPad Pro will grab all the attention, Apple is also expected to launch the iPad mini 4 at its Hey Siri event Wednesday, which will see a big improvement over the iPad mini 3 with a faster processor, improved cameras, support for split screen mode and a thinner design to match the iPad Air 2.