The iPad Pro is official, and so is the new Apple Pencil stylus and keyboard

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Back in August 2014, rumors of a huge, 12.9-inch iPad Pro popped up on the Internet. Initially, reports pegged the larger iPad at nearly 13 inches and claimed it would arrive in 2015. Apple finally showed off the massive iPad Pro at its September 9 event in San Francisco. Here’s everything we know about the device ahead of its official launch.

The iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch screen has a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 pixels, which is the highest resolution on any iPad. The large tablet is surprisingly thin and light at 6.9mm thin and 1.57  pounds. It’s powered by an A9X processor and comes with either 32 or 128GB of storage, depending on the model you choose.

You can also get a keyboard cover and the Apple Pencil stylus as accessories for the iPad Pro.

All the rumors ahead of the iPad pro launch

It could launch on September 9

On the evening before the September 9 Apple event, Apple commentator John Gruber stated that, “the consensus is that there’s only going to be one Apple event this fall, and it’s [September 9]. So if there’s an iPad Pro, it’s coming [September 9].” Digital Trends will be reporting live from the event, so stay tuned for all the official announcements.

A 9to5Mac report hints at a $800 price tag for the entry-level iPad Pro with 32GB of storage. The 64GB model will cost $900 and the 128GB version will be prices at $1,000. An LTE-enabled model will also arrive, maxing out at a $1129 price tag, which is as much as some MacBooks.

Although 9to5Mac says it’ll likely debut at the September 9 event, the publication’s sources say the iPad Pro won’t ship until November. Preorders should kick off in October, but it sounds as though supply chain problems will limit the number of iPads available.

9to5Mac also hinted that the price tag could end up being very steep, as the keyboard and stylus accessories will be sold separately. As such, you can expect the iPad Pro to cost about $1,000 all told. A rose gold color option is likely, too.

The price tag could be steep when you add the keyboard and stylus accessories to the mix.

The latest report from Apple Insider cites J.P. Morgan analysts as saying that special touchscreen components for the iPad Pro will arrive in September. The analysts also hinted that things should be on track for an October launch, which would be in line with Apple’s traditions.

Well-placed 9to5Mac sources indicate that Apple will debut the new iPad on September 9, the same day the company’s expected to unveil a new Apple TV, iPhone 6 and 6S, and a revamped iPad mini. October’s purportedly pegged for the preorder period, with retail availability to follow in November.

DigiTimes report places the iPad Pro’s production on track for a mid-November launch, as mass production will kick off in September or October. The site’s sources estimate that 4 million to 5 million iPad Pro tablets will be shipped in 2015, after it launches in the fourth quarter.

Shortly before the DigiTimes report came to light, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned a similar production schedule and launch time frame for the larger iPad. Although a November launch would be later than most iPad launches, it would still be in time for holiday shopping.

In contrast, a recent article by BuzzFeed News mentioned a possible Sept. 9 launch date for new iPads, as well as the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. The publication cited sources familiar with Apple’s plans, but added that the larger iPad is still a “wildcard.”

In mid-July, DigiTimes cited supply chain sources who claim the iPad Pro won’t go into production until the end of September 2015, and may launch as late as mid-November 2015. Foxconn will reportedly produce the components for the larger iPad, and Apple’s orders are said to be conservative. iPad sales have been declining in recent years, so it’s possible that Apple is hedging its bets with the alleged 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The news of its delay first came from analyst Kuo, who often has his finger on the pulse of Apple’s supply chains. Kuo said that new components and supply constraints have pushed production behind schedule. He did not say when the larger iPad will launch.

Japanese publication Mac Fan had pinned the 12-inch iPad Pro’s launch for sometime between April and June of 2015. A spring or summer iPad release would be unorthodox for Apple, and we’ve heard no word of it arriving this summer. In contrast, a May report from ET News stated that the iPad Pro won’t arrive until 2016, when the new silver nanowire technology will be ready.

Back in October, supply chain officials said production of the massive iPad will be delayed due to huge demand for the iPhone 6. The unnamed supply chain sources told The Wall Street Journal the large iPad was supposed to go into full-scale production in December. However, unprecedented demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus forced Apple to delay production of the iPad Pro. The new iPhone 6 models sold a record 10 million units over the first weekend and demand in China, as well as India, is expected to be incredibly high.

A9X processor, NFC, Force Touch, and a stylus — Oh my!

iPad Pro rumors have been circulating for quite some time, and we’ve heard a lot of possible specs. The most recent report from 9to5Mac hints that the iPad Pro will be powered by an amped-up A9X processor to make the most of the big screen. It’s said to come with a minimum of 64GB of storage and a 128GB option. However, Apple will not bundle the stylus or keyboard with the purchase of an iPad Pro, so you’ll still have to shell out a pretty penny for the accessories if you want the full experience.

In mid August, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hinted that the iPad Pro stylus could come with Force Touch capabilities, just like the Apple Watch. Apple may employ a Force Touch stylus to help users navigate the big-screened iPad, Kuo said.

“We also believe a Force Touch-enabled stylus will enhance productivity as it would offer more precise operation than using only fingers,” Kuo wrote. “Technically, we believe the stylus can be made compatible with iPad models other than the 12.9-inch version, but it depends on the support of software.”

Patently Apple found further evidence of the Force Touch stylus in a European patent. The patent shows 8 special sensors embedded in the iPad and a possible slot for a stylus in the device itself, though that point is not clarified. Force Touch could be used in music, gaming, and virtual reality apps, the patent hints. More details will become available when the patent is published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

An anonymous source familiar with Apple’s plans told AppleInsider that the iPad Pro will have NFC, Force Touch, a stylus, the A8X processor, and perhaps even a USB Type-C port. 9to5Mac disputed the USB Type-C port claim, and says a lightning port will be used instead.

Although it’s unlikely that a nearly 13-inch iPad would ever be used in a tap-to-pay transaction at checkout, Apple may still include NFC on the device so that users can make in-app purchases with Apple Pay and use the tablet to receive payments. The source also claimed Force Touch technology would be used on the iPad Pro.

Earlier reports hinted at the possibility of a Bluetooth stylus coming with the giant iPad, and this source says that the stylus will be pressure sensitive and make use of the screen’s decreased touch latency — which ties in with the Force Touch rumors. The stylus may connect via Bluetooth or possibly NFC.

Finally, the source revealed that Apple may include a USB Type-C port on the larger iPad, but would not specify whether the port will replace the lightning charger or be an extra port on the tablet itself. If Apple includes both the USB-C and the lightning port, the iPad Pro will be the first iPad to include more than one port.


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