Following the release of the iPhone X, all eyes are on Apple and its plans to keep the ball rolling when it comes to its smartphone series. What many tend to forget is the fact that Apple’s tablet series is also in need of a revamp, and that is set to happen next year. Here are the rumored specs and features of the 2018 iPad Pro. 

Design

Apple introduced a new design language with the launch of the iPhone X, which has an edge-to-edge, almost bezel-less display. If Apple were to revamp its tablet line, it’s possible that the new iPad Pro — the direct successor to this year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro — could take cues from the iPhone X. It’s either that, or the Cupertino giant could still come up with an iOS tablet with top and bottom bezels that are slimmer than the ones before. After all, iPads actually benefit from the bezels as they make the tablets easier to hold, as pointed out by iMore.  

Meanwhile, another feature that’s rumored to undergo a serious change is the home button. Apple has already gotten rid of the physical home button on its iPhone series starting with the iPhone 7. The company ditched the physical button for a virtual one that utilizes Force Touch technology. There are rumors that Apple could do the same for its iPads. Early last month, Bloomberg reported that 2018 10.5-inch iPad Pro will most likely debut without a home button. The publication also said that in the absence of the home button that typically houses the fingerprint scanner, Apple is going to bring Face ID to the tablet so that the latter could act as the device’s main biometrics system. If true, this would mean that Apple is going to adopt a different design for the next-generation iPad Pro.

Bloomberg has also divulged that fans shouldn’t expect the upcoming 10.5-inch iPad Pro to feature an OLED screen. Earlier reports claimed that the launch of the first OLED iPhone this year could also mean that Apple is adopting the same display technology for the flagship tablet it is releasing in 2018. However, the outlet learned from reliable sources that “technical and financial constraints” are preventing Apple from outfitting its next-generation iPad Pro with OLED display.

Performance

This year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro launched with Apple’s A10X Fusion chip. The 64-bit ARM-based SoC was built using Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) FinFET 10nm process. Compared to the previous iPad’s A9X chip, the A10X is 30 percent faster. For the upcoming iPad Pro, iMore reports that Apple is likely to introduce the A11X Bionic chip, which is a variant of the A11 Bionic chip inside the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The A11X Bionic chip is rumored to come with a new image signal processor for photos, custom GPU for improved graphics performance and the neural engine block for machine learning. 

 Features

When it comes to the features that are speculated to come to the 2018 lineup of iPads, some fans are hoping that USB-C could be one of them. Apple is well aware that its consumers want it to adopt the USB-C standard for its iDevices; however, it hasn’t shown any signs of caving in. In fact, instead of including USB-C to the 2016 lineup of its tablets, the company simply responded to the requests by releasing a Lightning to USB-C cable for the iPad Pro. It would make sense for Apple to adopt USB-C for the 2018 iPad Pro because the company, itself, has been marketing its iPad tablets as devices that are as capable as PCs, as pointed out by 9To5Mac. Again, there’s no guarantee that Apple would be switching to USB-C for its next-generation iPad Pro.

Considering that Apple thinks wireless connectivity is the future of tech devices, it’s possible that the 2018 10.5-inch iPad Pro could feature wireless charging. It launched the AirPods because it wants its consumers to enjoy a wireless audio streaming experience, and now it has introduced wireless charging to the iPhone X and iPhone 8 to get rid of the often messy setup of wired chargers. In order to implement wireless charging on its new iPhones though, Apple had to switch back to glass backs for its current smartphone offerings. Hence, it seems there’s only a small chance for the upcoming iPad Pro to have wireless charging. 

Miscellaneous

Meanwhile, it’s quite impossible to not talk about the 3.5mm headphone jack when discussing about an upcoming product from Apple. The Cupertino giant made it clear when it introduced the iPhone 7 that the headphone jack is a dated technology and it ditched it for the very reason that Apple is the only company brave enough to make such a drastic and bold decision against an age-old technology. When Apple execs spoke with Buzzfeed late last year though, they alluded to the fact that the removal of the hack actually provided them the opportunity to do more and be more creative with the internal components of the iPhone. Surprisingly, Apple did not keep its word when it launched the 2017 installments of the iPad series. So while it’s possible that Apple could be preparing a new 10.5-inch tablet with a 3.5mm jack, fans shouldn’t also be surprised when the device doesn’t debut with the universal audio jack.