iPad Pro: What We Know Right Now

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After close to a year of speculation and rumor, it appears the so-called “iPad Pro” will finally see the light of day. MacRumors reports that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the newest addition to the iPad lineup is set to begin production in either September or October.

Kuo is widely regarded as one of the most accurate analysts when it comes to Apple rumors. Over the years, he has predicted new features of several products including the iPhone 5, 5c, and 6. However, other analysts have echoed his speculation in their own research in recent months, giving credence to his comments.

Kuo’s comments also suggest that iPad Pro will indeed have a 12.9-inch screen, which is 3.2 inches bigger than the current largest iPads. He also reaffirmed that Apple is indeed working on a stylus for the tablet, something that had been rumored as early as January of this year.

Various news sites are in a bit of disagreement over whether Kuo believes the new stylus will be shipped with the iPad Pro or sold as a separate accessory, though. MacRumors’s reading of the report led them to believe it is included with the new iPad, while AppleInsider claims it will be sold separately.

The Cheat Sheet reached out to KGI for clarification, but due to the firm’s location in China and the time difference, a response was not immediately available.

Force Touch comes to iPad

One of the iPad Pro’s signature features is the switch to a Force Touch display. The Force Touch display first made an appearance on the Apple Watch, although it has been found on Apple’s laptop trackpads too.

Force Touch is a pressure sensing technology that allows for different features to be triggered based on how hard you press down. It’s the biggest change to Apple device displays since the debut of Retina technology in the iPhone 4 in 2010. Kuo also expects Force Touch to make an eventual appearance in the iPhone line, Business Insider reports.

While these other devices can be easily manipulated with a fingertip, it appears Apple is ready to admit the tablet works better with a stylus.

Apple stylus is a change in tune

Such an admission by Apple is definitely a change in tune for the company. The late Steve Jobs once quipped, “If you see a stylus, they blew it,” following the release of the original iPad in 2010.

As such, iOS as a whole was built around finger-based input and gestures. However, devices were much smaller then: The largest iPad screen was 9.7 inches, and the iPhone’s was just 3.5 inches. With the iPad Pro, the display is now the size of its midrange Macbook models.

Kuo suggests that a stylus is necessary to navigate the larger screen size of the iPad Pro more effectively. “We also believe a Force Touch-enabled stylus will enhance productivity as it would offer more precise operation than using only fingers,” Kuo is reported by AppleInsider as having written in the report.

Ready for the holidays?

We should note that Kuo’s only guessing on when Apple will start manufacturing the new iPad, not actually when the device will be available on store shelves. To that effect, MacRumors did a bit more digging to see if they could figure out a potential release date.

The site says that analytics company AppSee has begun to see a iPad device with a larger screen resolution running iOS 9.1 in its logs. The site speculates that this likely means the device will not launch until later in the fall given that iOS 9 itself is not expected until September.

Despite the later launch, the iPad Pro should still make it in time for the holiday shopping season — a move likely aimed at giving the tablet’s sagging sales a much needed boost.

Follow Ed on Twitter @edoswald

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