We’re about 17 weeks into the year, and so far the only major announcement pertaining to Apple’s iPad was the introduction of a revamped 9.7-inch model boasting slightly beefed-up specifications over the iPad Air 2 — albeit at the most affordable price point ever for an iPad in its class. Apple has for long been rumored to be introducing as many as three other iPad models this year, however, including a refreshed 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, a slightly smaller, bezel-free iPad Pro boasting an edge-to-edge display measuring 10.5-inches, and possibly even an iPad mini 5, which could also be christened iPad Pro mini credentials to help distinguish it from iPad minis past.
Though these models were first rumored to launch way back in March, then again in April, and yet again by April — while shipping to customers in May or June — a new report published over the weekend suggests that the tablets could be debuted live during the keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month.
While reiterating many of the same details we already know about the 2017 iPad lineup, including how they will run on a beefed-up ‘A10X’ variant of Apple’s A10 Fusion SoC, boast variable screen sizes including 12.9-, 10.5-, and 7.9-inches, and other upgrades including better camera hardware, True Tone displays, and more, Donklephant is now suggesting that the next-generation iPad trio is likely to debut at WWDC alongside the unveiling of iOS 11.
The report doesn’t cite anything in the way of breaking news about the upcoming iPad devices, but appears to converge around a spat of previous reports that may lend a bit of cautious credence to its case.
First and foremost, it’s been over a year and a half now since Apple last refreshed the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which debuted back in the fall of 2015, respectively. Moreover, Apple has historically released new iPad models no later than 12-18 months apart, which in itself is an indication that new iPads are not very far off. To that end, one of these previous reports suggested that while the iPad Pros might be unveiled as early as April, they might not ship to customers until late May or early June, which would coincide quite nicely with a potential announcement at WWDC.
Historically speaking, Apple isn’t known for using WWDC as a venue to showcase new products, with the exception in recent years, of WWDC 2013, whereat new MacBook Air and Mac Pro models were unveiled. 2017 might be a slightly different story, though: not only is Apple rumored to be unveiling new Siri/AirPlay-enabled hardware at this year’s event, but, quite frankly, it’s been so long since Apple has shaken things up with the iPad, we can only hope the company uses WWDC ’17 as a forum to do so.