For several years, Apple has been crafting the office park imagined by company founder, Steve Jobs. A sprawling campus with the main facility being commonly referred to as the Apple “spaceship.” Like something from a SciFi movie, the image above captured by Duncan Sinfield, highlights the facility and the surrounding park.
The new campus includes a theater space that will be host to many of Apple’s forthcoming hardware and software announcements. With the campus to open in early April, some speculators peg the new iPad Pro as the first media event for the new location.
iPad Pro 2
Back in January, rumors began to fly about a new iPad with a 10.5″ display and bezel-less form factor. More recently, rumors are starting to stack up, which lead to further feed the fire. A few weeks ago, it was reported new iPads should debut alongside a new, red iPhone 7 upgrade, which posted on March 21.
Lending solid proof to the rumor mill, mobile marketing company, Fiksu via TechCrunch, announced four completely new iPad device monikers. Each Apple device, all electronic devices for that matter, have a specific hardware number that is identified by web traffic monitoring systems. These new hardware numbers are as follows: iPad 7,1 – 17; iPad 7,2 – 11; iPad 7,3 – 5; and iPad 7,4 – 10. To compare, current iPad Pro models: iPad 6,7 (12.9″ iPad Pro wifi); iPad 6,8 (12.9″ iPad Pro cellular); iPad 6,3 (9.7″ iPad Pro wifi); and iPad 6.4 (9.7″ iPad Pro cellular).
Consequently, the identification of four new product model types, does not necessarily translate to four completely new versions, especially given a newer iPad was launched on Tuesday, March 21, to replace the aging iPad Air 2. Rather, the differentiating sub-model numbers could merely indicate a difference in network connectivity options. The chart above, released by Fiksu, shows an increasing number of new iPad models hitting their site, which would certainly prove the testing has increased, as we approach a potential March or April launch.
MacRumors received its own tip from a “well-known research firm that requested confidentiality,” that claims Apple will announce the products later this month, leaving the next two weeks as the only windows. This is similar to a report from Japanese blog Mac Otakara (via MacRumors), which also claims the models will be released in late-March. Given the late nature of our current position in March, if an Apple event is to occur before month’s-end, a Apple media invitation would need to be sent the week of March 20… and would also rule out the afore mentioned claim that Apple’s spaceship campus would be the location for such event. However, with the small update for iPad Air 2, it is unlikely we will see anything materialize, even in early April.
For certain, we know very little. Until Apple sends out media invitations or even a simple press release, iPad Pro models and the new 10.5″ bezel-less option are merely dreams of the future. However, with Apple rumors, when there is so much smoke, there is always a fire. It is safe to assume new iPads are coming this year, but a spring launch is actually against Apple’s more recent fall launches. iPad updates are over due and the company could be leaving space in the fall for its all new iPhone 8 flagship device. Consequently, getting iPads on the shelf now, could free up consumer dollars for the handset.