Here’s what we think we know about the 2018 iPad Pro lineup

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Both the 2018 iPad Pro tablets have undergone the most significant redesign yet.
Both the 2018 iPad Pro tablets have apparently undergone the most radical redesign yet.
Photo: MySmartPrice

Apple is about to make the most significant change to its iPad lineup since 2015. And you don’t have to wait to find out what’s coming because just about all the details have already leaked out.

From what we can tell, Apple is going to make its Pro tablets better by making them smaller. However, there are some odd changes that have many people worried.

The only 2018 iPad debuted this spring. This autumn to should bring a pair of redesigned, more powerful iPad Pros.

2018 iPad Pro: A small change leads to a significant redesign

Just about everything that will make the 2018 iPad Pro models better results from a single change: numerous unconfirmed reports indicate it’s dumping the Home button. 

The primary result of this is a reduction in the bezels around the displays. The 12.9- and 10.5-inch screens aren’t changing in either version of this tablet, but the chassis around them will get smaller. While that’s for the most part a benefit, anyone who already has one of these tablets shouldn’t expect any of their current accessories to fit the new versions.

2018 iPad Pro: Get ready for Face ID

The Home button is being replaced with gestures that are already included in iOS 12. 

In previous iPads, the Home button did double duty as the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Information leaking out of Apple indicates that the 2018 iPad models will use this company’s Face ID facial-recognition system instead.

The scanners needed for Face ID are also employed by Animoji and Memoji, so these will apparently be included in the new iPad Pro models as well.

2018 iPad Pro: a keyboard conundrum

As implemented in last year’s iPhone X, Face ID only works in portrait mode. And unconfirmed reports indicate that Apple hasn’t fixed this problem yet, so the new iPads will have to be in portrait mode to be unlocked, or to auto-fill passwords and credit card numbers onto websites.

Supposedly, the work-around for this is designing the 2018 tablets so that they’re easier to use in portrait mode, The primary change appears to include moving the Smart Connector for external keyboards from one of the long edges of the devices to right next to the Lightning port.

All that said, there are contradictory reports that say Face ID does work in landscape mode. That doesn’t explain why Apple would move the Smart Connector, though.

Leaked CAD drawings also show a port on the right edge of the iPad Pro. So far there’s no definitive answer on what this will do.

What doesn’t appear in any of the leaked images of this tablet is a headphone jack. Apparently, Apple expects everyone to use Bluetooth headphones with their tablet, just as they do with their iPhone.

Notice that the Smart Connector has moved to the bottom edge in this leaked render.
Notice that the Smart Connector has moved near the bottom edge in this leaked render.
Photo: MySmartPrice

2018 iPad Pro: on the Inside

At the heart of both the 12.9- and 10.5-inch tablets will be a new Apple A12X processor, which should provide much faster performance while using significantly less power.

Some specs aren’t changing. The same 4GB of RAM and storage options included in last year’s iPad Pro models should be in this one too. The rear camera is also expected to remain the same.

Faster charging will reportedly be easier, though. The 2017 iPad Pro models already support 18W chargers, but Apple only supplies a 12W charger. That will change this year.

2018 iPad Pro: prices

Apple strives to keep the pricing for its tablets consistent. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in 2015 started at $799, and so did the second-generation version in early 2017. That’s why there’s a good chance the largest iPad coming this fall will also sell for $799.

If the same holds true of the revamped 10.5-inch version, it will start at $649.

These devices could be unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 12. alongside three new iPhone models, and Apple Watch Series 4.