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Mar 20, 2017 01:35 PM EDT

iPad Pro 2 May Be Announced Anytime Now; Reported New Form Factor, Budget-Friendly iPad To Boost Declining Sales

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Images from Apple's new patent filing showcased the magnetic Apple Pencil 2 attached to the iPad Pro 2's side via the Smart Connector. The iPad Pro's Smart Connector can also power or recharge the Apple Pencil.
(Photo : Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

The iPad Pro 2 lineup have been rumored to be announced anytime today until March 24 so all eyes and ears are set for the long-awaited invitation to its product launch. There will be a new 10.5-inch form factor and a reportedly budget model that will sell for as low as $299 as Apple strategizes to improve declining market sales.

The iPad Pro 2 will have three models, the 9.7-inch, the new 10.5-inch and the 12.9-inch. MacRumors reveal that insiders say the new Apple tablets will be announced anytime from March 20 to 24 so anticipation is high regarding the latest Apple products. The Cupertino-based giant will be launching the new tablets in Spring as Apple seems to be favoring Spring releases as of late with 2016's unveiling of a smaller iPad Pro and the 4-inch iPhone SE. This year have been notably marked by price cuts for older iPads, Macs and even the recently released Apple Watch 2 all seemingly in preparation for a major upgrade,

Starting with the smallest in the iPad Pro 2 lineup, the 9.7-inch model will pack in the power of the A9X chips as well as the excellent features of its bigger siblings. It comes with accessories like a keyboard that magnetically connects and an Apple Pencil support. It is also enabled by Apple's Smart Connector with its four excellent speakers. It is reported to have a price range starting from $599 for the 32GB storage and Wi-Fi connectivity to $1,029 for beefier storage and higher cellular capabilities, LearnBonds has learned.

The newest iPad Pro 2 form factor is the 10.5-inch, which actually has the same outside dimensions with the 9.7-inch mostly because of smaller bezels and no home button. It features a display resolution of 2,224x1,668 ppi, but in essence, shares the same pixels-per-inch configuration with the 9.7-inch model. The smaller model only has 2,048x1,536 ppi but the new form factor has a larger display. As to pricing, the 10.5-inch variant may take the $599 slot for a new report say that the 9.7-inch will be scaled down to $499 to make room for the new form factor, according to Forbes.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 will get the most upgrade in terms of tech bumps as revealed first by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. There have been reports that Apple may have a budget-friendly 9.7-inch iPad for only $299, which is a hundred dollar less than the current price of the iPad Air. This latest report may be part of an "underpicing" strategy of Apple as it is reported to be pitching low prices for the Airpods and the newest Apple Watch Series 3 in a bid to entice more customers to its ecosystem. Though the Cupertino folks have held the tablet market for a long time, the iPads have been experiencing declining sales as revealed by an IDC market research and it has been happening year-after-year.

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