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Although we’ve been hearing some confusing and contradictory rumours about what Apple could be doing with its iPad Pro lineup, there’s virtually no doubt that a new model is coming this year, and most of the signs already point to its arriving sooner rather than later.
Firstly, there’s the fact that Apple hasn’t released a new iPad Pro since late 2018. This actually makes Apple’s flagship iPad the oldest model that’s still being sold in its entire iPad family; by contrast 2019 saw the release of a new iPad mini, entirely new iPad Air, and a refreshed 10.2-inch entry-level iPad. Then there are the supply chain reports that suggest that Apple is already ramping up production of the new models, combined with the fact that Apple’s last two iPad Pro releases came approximately 17 months apart, in June 2017 and October 2018. So in other words, we’re due for a new iPad Pro any day now.
New evidence suggests that Apple is getting ready for this too, with four new iPad Pro models making their appearance in a leak on Apple’s Chinese website. iPhone in Canada first noticed the update to Apple’s iPad user manual which revealed four new iPad Pro configurations with model numbers A2229, A2228, A2231, and A2233, and this time we have more than just the raw model numbers to go on, as the user manual — published by Apple itself no less — spelled out exactly what these model numbers represent, including their China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (CMIIT) IDs:
- 11-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi: A2228; CMIIT ID: 2019AJXXXX
- 11-inch iPad Pro Cellular: A2231; CMIIT ID: 2019AJXXXX
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi: A2229; CMIIT ID: 2019AJXXXX
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro Cellular: A2233; CMIIT ID: 2019AJXXXX
The four model numbers clearly represent new models as they don’t match any current iPad Pros, even in China, nor are they anywhere to be found on Apple’s support pages. Two of the numbers also match recent filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission, which is often another herald of new Apple products on the horizon.
The iPad Pro models were listed in the regulatory section of the user manual, where Apple is required to outline how the iPad uses radio signals to access wireless networks. Unsurprisingly, Apple quickly corrected the mistake and updated the user manual to remove mentions of the new iPad Pro models, but not before screenshots had been collected.
What to Expect
We’ve been hearing rumours since last summer that Apple was working on a triple-lens camera for the new iPad Pro, and in fact many expected it to debut last fall, although that obviously didn’t happen. Since that time, however, we’ve heard more rumours substantiating the triple-lens camera, so it’s almost a given that this will be a hallmark feature of the new iPad Pro, likely matching the camera system that Apple debuted with the iPhone 11 Pro last fall.
This alone would be a pretty massive upgrade for the iPad lineup, which has traditionally featured cameras that fall far short of what the corresponding iPhone models offer, but there are additional reports that it will feature mmWave 5G, and if the new iPad Pro models come this spring, they could in fact be the first Apple devices to get a 5G modem. While this may sound odd, it’s not unprecedented as Apple did the same thing when it released its first LTE devices back in 2012.
That said, we also heard a conflicting rumour that the new 5G-capable iPad Pro models might not arrive until fall, although it’s conceivably possible that Apple could release two sets of iPad Pro models this year. In fact, it’s perhaps telling that only the A2228 and A2229 numbers have been found in the Eurasian Economic Commission, which represent the Wi-Fi models, suggesting that Apple might simply choose to release those versions now and delay its cellular 5G-capable iPad Pro models until later in the year.