It seems Apple has some elaborate plans in place with its 9.7-inch iPad what with new reports on this claiming the tablet might be merged into the iPad Pro range.
If that is how things indeed shape up in the next few week, then it would mark a significant upgrade of the ubiquitous iPad that we have known so far. As such, the report also indicates the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro to have almost the same features and specifications as its bigger sibling.
That would mean the same combo A9X processor and RAM as the 12.9-inch model making into the new smaller iPad Pro. That is not all as the display technology of the bigger model too has to be ported onto the 9.7-inch iPad Pro to make it compatible with Apple Pencil.
Further, the smaller iPad Pro will have the same onboard storage options as the 12.9-inch model, which stands at 32 GB and 128 GB for the Wi-Fi only versions. The cellular model of the same is only available with 128 GB of storage.
Among the other bits that the new member of the iPad Pro family will be picking up from its bigger avatar include quad stereo speakers as well as a new smaller version of the Smart Keyboard to go with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
The rumored tablet was previously believed to yield a new iteration of the iPad Air, tentatively named iPad Air 3 at the March 15 event. But now, the new smaller iPad Pro is slated for launch sometime in the third week of March. According to BuzzFeed‘s John Paczkowski, Apple’s media event will now take place on Monday, March 21, likely at Apple’s Town Hall in Cupertino.
As it is, the iPad Air marked the first big transition for the iPad that we have known since 2010. And now with the tablet set to be inducted into the iPad Pro family, this will mark the biggest transformation the Apple tablet has had so far.
However, how much of an advantage the 9.7-inch iPad will have post its Pro makeover can also be a topic of debate given that sales of the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro has slowed down lately.
With demand for tablets itself slowing down considerably, this could also be seen as a desperate attempt on the part of Apple to infuse some excitement into the segment that seems to show signs of settling down into a slow groove off late.
The arrival of 9.7-inch iPad Pro can also be in response to the fast evolving segment comprising of two-in-one or hybrid devices that typically have a detachable keyboard and serve both as a laptop and a tablet. However, most of the hybrids out in the wild run Windows where the additional keyboard is justified for productivity roles the OS supports.
The above might not be applicable to the new smaller iPad Pro given that it is based on iOS which is being considered to be oriented more towards data consumption than productivity. That, unless Apple goes for what can be considered quite unthinkable, porting Mac OS on to the iPad range.
In any case, Apple is also expected to launch a new smaller 4-inch iPhone dubbed as iPhone SE at the March event along with new colorful Apple Watch bands.
Further, sources also mention the iPad Mini 2 and the first-gen iPad Air might drift into oblivion once the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is launched.