While we’ve all expected to see an iPad Air 3 to debut at Apple’s much-rumored March media event, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman is shaking things up with a report that says Apple will instead make the new 9.7-inch iPad a part of its “Pro” lineup. His sources indicate the new tablet will offer nearly identical features to its larger 12.9-inch sibling.
Much like the MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, the iPad Pro will soon come in 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch variations. This trend follows Apple not calling its 12-inch MacBook a new Air despite developing the product as an apparent successor to the MacBook Air.
Gurman says the 9.7-inch Pro will debut at Apple’s March 15th media event, and begin shipping as soon as March 18th. The smaller Pro will boast nearly identical features as the larger iPad Pro, with the same A9X processor and RAM, and an updated display technology to support the Apple Pencil.
The smaller Pro will boast a Smart Connector, so it will be compatible with a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard Cover, which Apple is said to be preparing, for a March launch. Stereo speakers will make an appearance in the smaller Pro, and while the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will offer the same colors and storage capacities as the 12.9-inch model, it will be priced closer to the iPad Air models it will replace.
We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything else about this tantalizing new possibility. Stay tuned.