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2018 iPad Pro: 4K video out, USB-C, new Apple Pencil

We’re getting closer and closer to the biggest iPad Pro update since Apple launched the super-powered tablet back in 2015. Though an announcement date is still unknown, more and more rumors have surfaced corroborating the same thing – including evidence discovered in the iOS 12.1 beta released recently to developers.

Unofficial renders of how the new devices are expected to look

The latest reports suggest some pretty significant changes on top of what we already knew. First up is that the 2018 iPad Pro will ditch the long-serving Lightning port in favor of USB-C, a relatively new connection type already adopted by Apple’s latest MacBooks in addition to plenty of non-Apple devices. This could be the start of an era where nearly everything charges via USB-C and we don’t have to keep track of distinct cables for every new device.

Another benefit of the switch to USB-C is that it gives Apple the capability to add 4K HDR video output to the iPad Pro via this port. That should make it super easy to connect the device to an external display like a TV or a high-definition monitor, which could be useful for all kinds of things, from streaming media on the big screen to getting some serious desktop-class work done on your iPad by setting it up like a regular computer.

The third big reveal is that Apple has been working on a second-generation Apple Pencil that could launch alongside the new iPad Pro. It’s said to improve on its predecessor in a few ways, most notably with seamless proximity-based pairing that works similarly to how AirPods connect to your devices. This would make it much easier to hot-swap your Apple Pencil between multiple devices – not terribly important right now, but it could pave the way for Apple to finally add Pencil support to the iPhone next year. That would be cool.

Add to that the things we already (think we) know – slimmer bezels, Face ID in portrait and landscape, no Home button, a new magnetic Smart connector – and we’ve got a pretty good picture of what the next-generation iPad Pro will look like. Rumor has it the new devices will be released either this month or next, in good time for the Christmas rush.