The long-rumored ‘iPad Pro’ could finally be coming this year, boasting a bigger screen than the latest Macbook – if we are to believe the hints uncovered by developers in the first iOS 9 beta.
At WWDC, Apple showcased some new iPad-only features in iOS 9, including a split view to work on two apps concurrently, and picture-in-picture video multitasking capabilities. These kind of features would certainly be more useful on a larger screen.
Apple also announced a few changes to the iPad keyboard for iOS 9, including some new shortcuts and the ability to use two fingers to turn it into a virtual trackpad to control text further up the screen. This alone implies there may be a bigger screen size coming soon, where reach could be a problem and trackpad functionality could be really useful.
Since the iOS 9 beta was released, developers have discovered a hidden keyboard designed for larger resolutions than currently exist in the iPad lineup. Exploring the UIKeyboard framework shows that on a larger screen the iPad keyboard will scale up to more closely resemble a more conventional keyboard.
The developers also discovered code referring to a device with a 1366 x 1024 pt resolution – which works out as 2732 x 2048 pixels using Apple’s usual @2x retina scaling system. They did the math and those numbers imply a screen size of roughly 12.9″, in line with previous rumors.
The iPad Pro, if announced, is expected to be more powerful than current-generation iPads, with stereo speakers and more connectivity options – possibly utilizing the new USB-C technology found in the latest Macbook. Either way, it looks as though Apple is blurring the lines between tablet and laptop even further.
Typically Apple unveil new iPads around a month after they make their yearly iPhone update in September. It looks as though we could be seeing a brand new tablet this Fall.