iPad Pro 2018: leaks, rumours, and everything we already know about Apple's next super slate

iPad Pro 2018 release date, price, specs and features

iPad Pro

In case you've lost track, there have been four iPad Pros so far: that mammoth, 12.9-inch original in 2015, the smaller 9.7-inch successor in 2016, and then the two 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models that Apple currently sells, which first appeared in the middle of 2017.

That means we're due new iPad Pros, and we think Apple has been busy working on upgrades to its top-end tablets – not least to match the same sort of design as the iPhone X. Here's everything we think we know so far about the new hardware Apple is planning.

iPad Pro 2018: release date and price

iPad Pro

The most recent iPad Pro refresh happened in June 2017, so it's high time Apple got around to launching some more of its top-end tablets – we know new iPhones are going to show up in September, so Apple could launch more tablets at the same event.

In the past though, it has usually (though not always) kept the two product families separate. We saw a new 'standard' iPad unveiled earlier this year, clearing the way for the bigger models to take centre stage in the second half of 2018.

We haven't heard too much from the rumour mill about when the new iPad Pros are going to appear, but based on regulatory filings it sounds like it's going to be soon. If we had to bet we'd say September – iOS 12 will arrive at the same time as the new iPhones, so Apple may as well throw everything out at once.

As for price, the current iPad Pros start at £619/$649 and £769/$799 depending on the size you go for, and we're not expecting Apple to deviate too far from that framework. After all, if you want a cheaper iPad, you can get the plain old standard model.

iPad Pro 2018: design

iPad Pro

This is likely where we're going to see the biggest changes between the 2018 iPad Pros and the 2017 iPad Pros – according to reports, the new tablets are in for a major facelift, with the bezels getting shrunk right down, the Home button disappearing, and Face ID arriving in place of Touch ID.

In other words, the new tablets are going to be a lot like an oversized iPhone X. Which, when you think about it, makes a lot of sense – Apple has invested a lot in technology like Face ID (and cute Animojis) and is going to want to roll this out to its tablet line sooner or later. All mobile devices are going bezel free now.

It's also a trend we've seen from other manufacturers: take a look at the recently unveiled Samsung Tab S4, with no Home button and barely a bezel in sight. If Apple sticks to the old iPad look, then its tablets are going to look relatively dated.

We've not heard anything to suggest that this year's iPad Pros will deviate from the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, which again leave enough of a buffer to the 9.7-inch standard iPad. These measurements might be tweaked slightly however, to account for the new smaller bezels around the sides.

iPad Pro 2018: specs

iPad Pro

Apple's latest iPad Pro tablets come with the Apple A10X Fusion processor and 4GB of RAM, with the iPhone X going for the newer (and faster) Apple A11 Bionic. Talk from the supply chain is that the new iPad Pros are going to skip that iPhone chipset and go straight to its successor, the even more powerful A11X Bionic.

Really though, the details don't matter – the current iPad Pros are more than powerful enough to cope with everything you can throw at them, and the new iPad Pros are going to be even more powerful than that. Apple markets these as iPads for professionals (hence the name), and there will be high-end specs to match.

All the usual specs the iPad Pro is known for, like the high-resolution True Tone display and those four high-fidelity speakers, should be present and correct too. We might not see much of a bump besides the processor though – the storage on the current models tops out at 512GB for example, and we wouldn't expect Apple to go beyond that this time.

Apple is likely to focus on the redesign of the tablets when launch day arrives, rather than any major bump in specs, not least because the current iPad Pros are already very speedy as far as performance goes. That said, these will probably be the fastest mobile devices Apple has ever put out.

iPad Pro 2018: other features

iPad Pro

It doesn't look like there will be too many surprises in terms of extra features this time around for the iPad Pro, with the usual Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories present and correct, if you're willing to spend a little extra money to get them. We might see some small upgrades in this area.

Waterproofing and wireless charging are two features Apple has introduced for its iPhones but has yet to add on the iPads – though they're less essential on a tablet, so there's no real urgency for Apple to introduce them, especially if it pushes the price up. The iPhone X might still sell at £999/$999, but tablet sales are much more sluggish.

Face ID should be the big new feature on the iPad Pros for 2018, and the word on the iPad street is that multiple faces will be supported – so several different people could set up separate accounts on the tablet, if needed (something which might be handy if you're sharing the tablet with the family).

Don't forget iOS 12 is going to be arriving in September, bringing with it a few more goodies for owners of iPads and iPhones alike: Memoji characters, a smarter version of Siri, tools for tracking your screen time and controlling your notifications better, group video calls in FaceTime, and much more besides.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.