Regulatory Filings Hint New iPad Pro and Apple Pencil Are Imminent

Ipad Pro Concept Images Credit: UX Free
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A set of regulatory filings with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) suggests that new iPad Pro models and accessories are imminent.

Apple has reportedly registered several new iPad models with the MIIT in late September, according to MySmartPrice. Two of the three model numbers — A1876 and A1980 — correspond to previous tablet registrations with the Eurasian Economic Commission back in July.

Another model number, A1993, has not been seen in past regulatory filings, however. Similarly, July’s EEC filing contained model numbers not seen in today’s report (which is likely the result of region-specific hardware).

None of these model numbers correspond with existing tablets in Apple’s lineup, so it’s fair to say that they’re probably new iPad Pro devices.

Interestingly, the regulatory filings also include a piece of hardware simply labeled a “Bluetooth device” with a model number of A2051.

What that Bluetooth device could be isn’t clear at this point, as there’s no additional information about it included in the registrations. But it could line up with previous rumors.

One recent rumor suggested that the 2018 iPad Pro lineup could launch with a new Apple Pencil that may sport contactless pairing, similar to Apple’s AirPods. Those reports didn’t indicate that the Apple Pencil could be Bluetooth-based, but it would make sense if it were.

Either way, today’s filings suggest that a release of new iPad Pro hardware and related accessories is just over the horizon.

Because of the number of pending iPad and Mac refreshes Apple has on the table, it’s likely that the company will hold a second fall keynote sometime this month. Based on its past October keynotes and the release timeline of the iPhone XR, that event could take place near the last week of the month.

New iPad Pro Design and Features

The new 2018 iPad Pro lineup is largely expected to be a radical change from past Apple tablets.

Both new iPad Pros are expected to feature an edge-to-edge display design with thinner bezels and no Home button. In lieu of a fingerprint sensor, the new tablets have long been rumored to switch to Face ID.

They’ll also pack improved processors and better cameras. The edge-to-edge design could allow for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to be lighter and smaller, while the 11-inch iPad Pro could feature a larger display. More recent rumors suggest that the devices could ditch Lightning in favor of USB-C.

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