As we get closer to impending iPad announcements, the rumors are slowly giving us a more accurate picture of coming attractions. The reports of a 10.5″ Pro device have been loud, clear, and consistent, and are still pointing to a new SKU in the iPad line. This is as close to a full-on device leak as we can get, so the 10.5″ model looks all but certain now.
We’ve also heard consistent rumors of a refreshed 12.9″ Pro, although the timeline of release still seems to be up for debate. It may be coming later in the Spring, but I feel confident that it IS coming. There are also plenty of reports on 9.7″ devices, but it’s hard to be sure whether these refer to a lower-cost iPad Air 2 refresh, an upgrade of the 9.7″ Pro, or maybe even both.
While there has been plenty of ebb and flow to the rumors of the devices listed above, the rumors relating to the iPad Mini have differed and changed the most to this point. There were references to a Mini Pro late last year, but those had quieted by the new year when I wrote about iPad rumors back in early February. One of the next reports had the Mini firmly back in the picture, only to be contradicted again in a subsequent batch.
Today, there are fresh reports from Greek site TechValue (the linked article is in Greek. This BGR article gives a synopsis in English) that once again include a reference to an iPad Mini Pro, along with three other models: 9.7, 10.5, and 12.9. The fact that there will be four new models looks very solid right now, as a report from marketing firm Fiksu says that four new models are showing up in analytics logs breaking down use in the Cupertino area, and that sightings have been increasing. While this report doesn’t prove that a new Mini Pro is coming, it does lend a lot of credibility to there being four new devices. If nothing else, this definitely increases the odds for a new Mini,
This rumor of a coming Mini Pro actually makes a lot of sense. With iPad sales continuing to slump, lower-cost models to round out the lineup are a necessity. Still, while we have seen reports of a $299 9.7″ device, there haven’t been any rumors at all regarding the existing Mini 4 or a similar update to it. However, we also know that the current Air 2 and Minis are selling in higher numbers than the Pro models. As such, it stands to reason that a Mini WILL continue to be a part of the iPad family. The absensce of any rumors of a continuance of the standard Mini lends credence to the rumors of a Mini Pro, as inconsistent as they may be.
I also have to admit that I didn’t realize how much of a following the Mini form factor still has until several readers responded to a recent article I wrote. A few specifically mentioned wanting a Pro model with Pencil support, so these rumors this late in the game should be welcomed news for them. It seems I was VERY misguided when I predicted the demise of the Mini back in February. However, I’m happy to admit it if it means Apple is releasing four new iPad Pro devices. That would show ample evidence of Apple’s continued commitment to and support for the iPad family of devices.
Many of you responded to tell us about your preference for the iPad Mini form factor last week. What do you think about these new iPad Mini Pro rumors? Are you buying them? Are you excited? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below, on our Flipboard channel, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog or @jhrogersii. I look forward to hearing from you.