An iPad Pro refresh is due for an upgrade, and all signs point to a major redesign this fall. As we already know Apple will be launching new iPhones in September, in three variations of screen size and price point. Rumors also speak about new low-cost notebook computers, too. Add to that the Apple Watch Series 4, which is almost certain to happen this year.
What’s most interesting here is that there’s another product from Apple hardware lineup that is also expected to receive an upgrade – the iPad Pro. A new 12.9-inch model being joined by an 11-inch model replacing the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, are expected to draw heavily from the likes of iPhone X design. They will feature super-slimmed down bezels and drop the Home button in favor of Face ID.
The notorious leaker OnLeaks has today shared what is said to be a CAD image of the purportedly new iPad Pro. In the sketch, you can see a new outline on the back of the iPad hardware. This is presumably the redesigned Smart Connector in its new form factor spot on the rear of the device, horizontally aligned with the Lightning port on the short edge.
Shared it via Twitter, the image does look like it could be an iPad Pro, but there’s still one curious point to note that, what it appears to be a new location for that tablet’s Smart Connector. A departure from the current iPad Pro, which is the same connector on the curved edge of the tablet and on the longer side, making it perfect for connecting it to a keyboard in landscape mode.
All this means iPad Pro users unfurl their Smart Keyboard and prop up their device horizontally, with the Home button on the right. Could this mean that the new iPad Pro will have two Smart Connectors? The metal dots of the Smart Connector align with the middle of the keyboard.
Regardless of whether there will be one or two connectors, the Smart Connector depicted in this CAD images is of a different shape, meaning accessories will be incompatible. With the Smart Connector moving to a new location as shown in this latest leak, it goes without saying the current Smart Keyboard will also be incompatible. This probably would have been the case anyway though as the physical dimensions of the new purported iPad Pros are changing significantly, as Apple slims down the bezels.
However, it unclear to notice how a redesigned Smart Keyboard would be able to interface with a smart connector that is situated on the back of the device. When compared, the current cover design does not fit snugly onto the back of the iPad.
A recent report has implied that the relocation of the connector suggested the new iPad Pros would prefer to be used in portrait, although there isn’t any concrete evidence to back this up. It should be possible for Apple to decide and make a new horizontal keyboard attachment still, perhaps with the addition of a permanent back cover.
In the CAD drawing, the connector itself is depicted as a rounded pill shape. This is obviously a significant change from the current three-dot design. Finally, we would not want to rely on this leaked image as proof of the connector design. Depending on where this was sourced from, the fine-grained details may have simply not be drawn.
Indeed, this will allow for smaller bezels, where it’s expected that some will remain in order to allow the device to be held comfortably. Yes, we are talking about the new iPad Pro features, such as Apple’s next-generation A12 processors, an addition of Face ID, removal of the Home button, and instead use Face ID for authentication and gestures for navigation throughout iOS.
(Source: Steve H. [Twitter])
Just got my hands on a purported 2018 iPad Pro CAD showing a unknown thing located on the back of the tablet… NB: I can’t confirm the accuracy of that CAD I share for discussion purposes only because of that weird and yet unexplained detail… 😉
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