Apple releasing 9.7-inch iPad Pro in March: Everything you need to know

The company is reportedly dropping the iPad Air naming for its flagship tablet line along with upgrading the specifications and adding a 4k-capable camera.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
12.9-inch iPad Pro/Apple

Apple is making major changes to its iPad lineup when Tim Cook and Co. take the stage at the company's March 21 media event in Cupertino, CA.

There is a lot of rumor surrounding the next Apple tablet, which is needed by the company to help rejuvenate sales.

Apple CEO Cook has expressed that he expects iPad sales to grow in 2016. And the iPad Air 3 certainly isn't going to do it. Based on rumors, we think we have a pretty good idea of what Apple will announce.

Name and Release date


The middle-sized iPad at 9.7-inches will no longer be called the iPad Air. Mark Gurman of 9to5mac, an often correct source for Apple rumors, says the tablet will be added to the iPad Pro line, which currently only consists of the largest model at 12.9-inches.

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    It's not clear when Apple will release the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but it's likely days after the March 21 media event. Apple will not offer pre-orders for the new devices, according to the report.

    Photo and video

    9to5mac reports the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will feature a 12-megapixel camera on the rear. Like the iPhone 6s, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro would also record 4K video.

    This means the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will have better photo capabilities than the larger Pro version, suggesting the smaller form factor is better for taking photos.

    Smart Accessories

    Like the larger iPad Pro, the smaller version will have Apple Pencil capability and a Smart Keyboard, according to Buzzfeed, allowing for more content creation than other versions of the iPad.


    The new 9.7-inch iPad due in March is said to feature nearly identical features and specifications as the bigger model, adding the A9X processor, RAM upgrades, and updated display technology for the Apple Pencil that allows users to draw on the screen.

    The larger iPad Pro has a Lightning connector, Touch ID port, built-in speakers, Smart Connector, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Inside, there's an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a front-facing camera for FaceTime, and an NFC chip for Apple Pay. These features are expected for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

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    What about the iPad mini?

    There's no word if the smaller tablet will be kept in the lineup. There's no rumor to indicate a new one will be announced at the March event.


    It's likely the iPad Air 3 could be kept in the iPad lineup and priced for the budget market.

    Media event

    Apple hasn't confirmed the March 21 event. Recode is reporting the date, along with BuzzFeed and The Loop. According to BuzzFeed it will take place at Apple's campus in Cupertino, CA.

    Alongside the new tablet, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5se in only space gray, gold, and silver and a Space Black Apple Watch with a Milanese Loop, new Sport Band colors, and line of NATO-style nylon straps, according to 9to5mac.

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