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Mar 30, 2017 04:51 PM EDT

iPad Pro 2 To Feature Apple’s Greatest A10 Processor; April U.S. Launch Expected, Globally At Year’s End

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The iPad Pro 2 will most likely sport Apple's latest and most powerful A10 processor with a new form factor, the 10.5-in., set to begin limited production and the 12.9-in. rumored to be the most redesigned variant. Analysts and pundits have differing views on release but the most plausible would be an initial launch in the U.S. and in a few select countries in April followed by a global launch towards the end of the year.

Both the 10.5-in. and the 12.9-in iPad Pro 2 models will sport the A10 processor, Apple's fastest mobile chip to date. The new form factor 10.5-in. variant is believed to feature an edge-to-edge display with no physical home button just like the iPhone 8. However, some tech pundits say that this new feature is most likely to debut in an iPhone than in an iPad, which suggests that the new iPad form factor may only have narrower bezels. It seemed an unwise move for Apple to showcase the new design feature months ahead of the iPhone 8's unveiling in September if the iPad's April launch reports were true.

Apple watcher John Gruber believed that Apple may delay the unveiling of the iPad Pro 2 lineup in October so as not to ruin the debut of the edge-to-edge OLED display feature of the iPhone 8. This would mean that shipping may commence at a much later date, which is typically Apple, and the iPad Pro 2 variants will be arriving by early 2018. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo say otherwise believing a 2017 timetable is most plausible. Kuo has been right about the budget-friendly 9.7-in. iPad unveiled last March 21 which could mean that the iPad Pro variants may come soon, according to MacRumors.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing partners of Apple are set to begin this month a limited production of the 10.5-in. iPad Pro 2 according to IHS Markit analyst Rhoda Alexander to Forbes. There are differing views on the actual release but given that the 10.5-in. is only about to begin its production, the most likely scenario will be an April soft launching. Alexander adds that the new form factor along with the 12.9-inch model may be initially launched in the U.S. only or also in a few selected countries followed by a global launch later this year. Incidentally, mobile marketing firm Fiksu discovered four new iPad identifiers in its device data suggesting Wi-Fi and cellular versions of the 10.5-in. and 12.9-in., all pointing to an April launch.

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