A new leak on Tuesday is seemingly corroborating rumors that Apple will release a refreshed iPad Pro with a triple-lens camera this fall.
The leak (shown below) is an image of an alleged “final design mockup” of an upcoming iPad Pro model taken from a “repeatedly reliable” source by tech website SonnyDickson. It pretty clearly shows an iPad Pro-style tablet with a square camera bump housing a triple-lens camera array.
The post’s author, J. Glenn Künzler, points that the actual camera bump doesn’t have a glass surface covering. That could hint that the iPad Pro’s triple-lens camera will be slightly different.
Or, as Künzler notes, the glass covering could have simply been left off the particular model itself because it’s a rough design prototype not intended for consumer release.
SonnyDickson also suggests that the new iPad Pro will debut at an October keynote event.
Past iPad Pro Rumors
SonnyDickson’s leak, if accurate, seems to indicate that Apple will release a new iPad Pro generation with triple-lens cameras this year.
That largely lines up with a past report by Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The outlet, citing sources within Apple’s supply chain, reported that a 2019 iPad Pro is indeed coming with the same triple-lens camera array as the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
Mac Otakara doesn’t have a perfect track record at predicting Apple’s moves, however. More than that, the same report also suggested that Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad would sport a dual-lens camera. That, obviously, did not turn out to be the case.
It also conflicts with other reports that an upcoming iPad Pro would have a time-of-flight 3D laser camera for photography and augmented reality. Importantly, those rumors suggest that Apple will debut its new iPad Pro models sometime in spring 2020.
There’s a lot more weight behind these reports, with Bloomberg and renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo all corroborating the ToF camera and the timeline.
A ToF camera and a triple-lens camera aren’t necessarily the same thing, however. And it’s perfectly possible for both features to debut on separate iPad Pro models.
On the other hand, it’s doesn’t seem incredibly likely that Apple would debut a new iPad Pro this fall and then refresh the same lineup within half a year. Some of the reports may be wrong, especially in the timeline area.
Uses of a Triple-Lens iPad Camera
There’s also the question of why Apple would upgrade its iPad Pro lineup to a triple-lens camera, since tablet photography is generally frowned upon by many tech users.
The most obvious answer is the use of the iPad Pro for augmented reality and AR gaming — something that Apple has been keenly interested in since the debut of ARKit.
Similarly, Künzler argues that the triple-lens iPad Pro could be used by professionals to create and shoot high-quality 4K video (or photos, by the same logic) from a single device.
Either explanation seems likely as Apple continues to market devices in its Pro lineup as actual professional-grade products.