Apple is widely expected to introduce a plethora of new products this fall, including all-new iPhone models, Mac computers, and a duo of radically-redesigned iPad Pros featuring slightly smaller form-factors, nearly bezel-less, edge-to-edge displays, and surprisingly, no 3.5mm headphone jack, according to a report published this week by the Japanese Apple blog, Mac Otokara.
Citing supply chain sources, Mac Otakara goes on to note the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s slightly shrunken dimensions, indicating it’ll clock in at a height of 247.5mm, a width of 178.7mm, and a depth of just 6mm — this, in contrast to the current 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s footprint of 250.6mm tall by 174.1mm wide by 6.1mm thick.
Meanwhile, the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro will allegedly clock in at 280mm tall by 215mm wide by 6.4mm thick, compared to the current 12.9-incher’s footprint of 305.7mm by 220.6mm by 6.9mm.
Based on those numbers, it’s clear Apple’s team has done some engineering to ensure all its advanced new technologies fit into an even smaller chassis.
Mac Otokara’s dimensions also align with earlier reports suggesting Apple plans a complete redesign with the introduction of its 2018 iPad Pro models, slimming down the bezels much akin to how it did with its nearly all-screen iPhone X.
However, Apple’s new iPads are also expected to feature larger displays, thanks in part to the bezel reduction, with at least one credible report suggesting an 11-inch model could be on the horizon.
Both upcoming iPad Pro models are also expected to ditch Apple’s traditional Home button in favor of a TrueDepth camera system for Face ID. And the report also claims that Apple will employ a “diamond cut” manufacturing process for both the front and the back sides of its new iPad Pro models,
This would mean that the tablets will feature a beveled design similar to the iPhone SE – however, this is unlikely.
Most surprisingly, Mac Otakara reports that Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro will not feature 3.5mm headphone jacks, with the company opting to eliminate them a la iPhone 7 and later.
But while Cupertino’s omission of the 3.5mm jack from its recent iPhone models was substantiated by promises of improved water resistance, a powerful Taptic Engine, and to make space for components like a bigger battery, it’s not clear if Apple is facing similar space constraints in designing its new iPad Pro models, or if the jack’s omission is to merely align iPad and iPhone features.
Either way, prospective buyers shouldn’t expect to see one. Bluetooth devices like AirPods or wireless headphones — as well as traditional Lightning-based headphones — will still work as expected.
Meanwhile, Mac Otokara reports that Apple has repositioned its proprietary Smart Connector on the new iPad Pro models — allegedly relocating the accessory port from its current position on the side to the bottom of the tablet near its Lightning port. If that’s the case, it’s not entirely clear how Apple’s Smart Keyboard accessory would function, being horizontally-oriented in its current embodiment..
The company could always redesign a second-generation Smart Keyboard for use exclusively with its new iPad Pros, but only time will tell if that comes to pass.
As possible justification, Mac Otakara points out that it’s “impossible to release the lock with the main unit turned sideways,” implying that Apple may have moved the Smart Connector because Face ID will only work when the tablet is in a vertical orientation.
In terms of a release date for these models, assuming Apple’s production plans stay on course, we can expect to see them either alongside its new iPhone models in September or at a separate media event in the October or early-November timeframe.
And while pricing details are obviously unknown at this time, given the R&D, engineering and wealth of new technologies like TrueDepth, Face ID and more packed inside of them, it’s only reasonable to assume Apple’s new tablets will retail for a premium of perhaps $100-$200 more than its current iPad Pro models.