For a solid year, there have been rumors of multiple iPad Pro releases in 2020. Early on, they seemed to conflict with reports of the new 11″ and 12.9″ Pros that were released a month ago, but it eventually became clear that this other device would be something different. It would come with 5G and a new Mini-LED screen. Some of the rumors said it would only be available in the 12.9″ flavor. However, despite the small variations, most of the reports of this device were pretty similar and all were clear about a release in late 2020.
For a long time, it seemed improbable to me that Apple would release two iPad Pros within months of each other after maintaining a consistent 18 month release schedule for so long. I was just getting used to the idea that this might actually happen when a pandemic went from something causing problems in faraway China to our collective doorstep. That has a way of changing things. Make that everything.
Device releases are certainly an adventure for any manufacturer these days, and it comes as no surprise when delays occur. The overseas supply chain took a huge hit when COVID-19 was running rampant overseas. While factories are largely back up and running now, everything is still catching up across Asia while Silicon Valley and other tech hotspots throughout the West now struggle to design and release products while working around quarantines.
With all of this swirling around and Apple obviously focused on getting the iPhone 12 out the front door on time, recent reports that this new 5G Mini-LED iPad Pro might slip were to be expected. The rumors have been gathering steam and lately and a new one today from the Economic Daily News in Taiwan says that this new device will slip back to sometime next year.
While disappointing news, this new model is an understandable casualty. If Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman are to believed (and they are), then Apple still has lots of new hardware coming this year, in spite of the effects of COVID-19. With two new iPad Pros barely out into the world, the new Magic Keyboard arriving in eager hands this week and new features like trackpad support fresh in users’ minds, the iPad Pro is pretty well covered for 2020.
So as much as I was looking forward to some truly new iPad Pro hardware later this year, I absolutely understand what is going on. There are iPhones, Apple Watches, over the ear headphones, a couple of Macs and maybe even a few other iPad models for Apple to devote their time to. There’s a very unique, quarantine version of WWDC to prepare for with new OS features to show off. That’s a lot of hardware and software to cover with some unusual obstacles in the way.
If any device in Apple’s upcoming hardware lineup could afford to slip to 2021, it’s this new version of the Pro. Thankfully, we iPad fans have a lot of new goodies to enjoy between now and then. It will be good to have something to look forward to.