Are We About To See the iPad Pro 2 and a New 10.5-inch iPad?

The iPad Pro with smart keyboard and Apple Pencil
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro may not get the same upgraded treatment as its bigger brother. Apple, Inc

All signs point to a set of new iPad models to be released in March, and if the rumors are true, we may see a brand new size with a different form factor. According to many leading analysts, Apple is set to unveil a 10.5-inch iPad that will have a very small bevel around the display and will junk the traditional Home Button. Basically, this iPad will be all screen, allowing it to have a 10.5-inch display and remain about the size of the 9.7-inch iPad.

Expect the Basics:

The current 9.7-inch iPad Pro is currently the most advanced iPad, with features that actually go beyond what is found in the 12.9-inch iPad. These features include a 12 MP back-facing camera that supports Live Photos. The 9.7-inch Pro also has a "True Tone" display that supports the DCI-P3 wide color gamut. This gives the iPad the same wide range of colors as the "Ultra HD" standard that is competing with 4K.

It is an easy bet that the new 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad models will have these features. They should also get a performance boost with a new A10X processor. Some reports have the 9.7-inch iPad Pro remaining with the A9X processor and getting a cheaper price tag.

The real excitement revolves around the new 10.5-inch iPad. Expect it to have a very small bevel around the edge rather than a wrap-around display. Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge is pretty, but having the display wrap around the edge becomes quite irrelevant when inside a protective case.

Apple rarely goes with irrelevant. But if the 10.5-inch model ditches the Home button, it will basically be a 9.7-inch iPad that is all screen. Expect Apple to match the size of these two models, which will allow them to share the same Smart Keyboard or other smart connector accessories that come along.

The Smallest iPad Goes Pro

The 7.9-inch "mini" model is rumored to add support for the smart connector along with a smaller-sized Smart Keyboard. It should also support the Apple Pencil. It is also set for a processor bump up to the A9X, although if history is any indication, the newest iPad mini may get the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and remain at the $399. It may be difficult for Apple to fit it with an A9X and a True Tone display that supports the Apple Pencil and still achieve that $399 price point.

Will the iPad Get 3D Touch?

Apple has worked to differentiate the iPhone and iPad lineups in the last few years, giving the iPad enhanced multitasking and a "Pro" line of processors and the iPhone features like 3D Touch, which allows you to activate features based on how hard you press your finger against the screen.  It's a very cool technology and one that could certainly help out on the iPad, even if it does take a little getting accustomed to using.  

There were rumors that 3D Touch could be coming to the iPad Pro via the Apple Pencil with the iOS 10 beta, but as for a true 3D Touch with a pressure-sensitive screen, we'll have to wait and see.  There have been no rumors to date suggesting Apple would add this feature to the iPad, and when you consider the screen already has the technology for detecting the Apple Pencil, throwing in pressure sensitivity might be a bit much.

How About the Touch Bar and Apple Pencil 2?

One of the more interesting rumors is of the Touch Bar that debuted with the Mac coming to the iPad.  This might not jive as well with a 10.5-inch iPad that is almost all display, but an iPad that ditches the physical Home Button and includes a Touch Bar could have interesting ramifications.  One of the biggest drawbacks of a tablet is the limited number of ways to interact with it to accomplish tasks like copying and pasting which are much easier using a keyboard shortcut on a PC.  A Touch Bar could help solve these tasks and make sharing a lot easier.

A rumor of a new Apple Pencil with a magnetic strip that both attaches to the iPad and charges the Pencil is also making the rounds. This one sounds pretty cool, but you have to wonder how comfortable it might be with a magnetic charging strip along the side.  If Apple can accomplish this while keeping the exterior smooth, it would be a nice addition.

Is the iPad Air Officially Dead?

There is no word of an "iPad Air" making an appearance at Apple's event in March. However, some rumors do point to the 9.7-inch iPad not getting the same refresh as the other models in the lineup. This could give Apple that $499 iPad it is lacking in the current lineup, which would essentially take the Air's spot.

And the current iPad Air 2 is likely to stick around as a cheaper, entry-level iPad. The current price for an iPad Air 2 is $399, but some third-party store like Best Buy are selling them for as cheap as $349.

When Will the New iPad Models Ship?

The 12.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch models are thought to ship in late March.  They will probably open for preorders just after being announced and ship 7-10 days later.   The 10.5-inch iPad is rumored to ship sometime in April or May.  

Will There Be a Red iPhone?

Another fun rumor concerns a color. Apple tweaked its iPhone colors in 2016 to include two versions of black, and now the rumor mill is suggesting a red iPhone is in our future. The iPhone is not expected to get any other enhancements beyond a possible color change.