Apple rumored to launch three iPad Pro models in spring 2017

Apple could introduce a 7.9-inch model to the iPad Pro lineup, if a new report is to be believed.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple plans to launch three iPad Pro models in spring 2017, including a new 7.9-inch model, and updates to the 9.7-inch and 10.1-inch models, according to Mac Otakara.

The Japan-based blog, citing "reliable sources," says the new 7.9-inch Pro model will feature four speakers and a Smart Connector, similar to the current line of iPad Pros previously updated in March of this year.

Presumably, the small iPad Pro will carry Apple Pencil support like the rest of the lineup. It's expected to replace the iPad Mini 4 currently offered.

All three models are said to retain the headphone jack, recently removed from the iPhone lineup in favor of wireless Apple EarPods when the iPhone 7 was released in September.

The report did not provide a specific launch timeline and pricing for the new Apple tablets. Mac Otakara also reports the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 will receive a 12-megapixel camera with True Tone flash. No other specifications were shared.

See also: Apple 9.7-inch iPad Pro review

In August, often-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said to expect three new iPads to be launched in 2017: a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, a new size 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad. Kuo didn't mention a 7.9-inch Pro model.

The new 10.5-inch model, according to Kuo, will be for "commercial and education markets." No pricing was mentioned.

Kuo expects iPad sales to continue to fall 10 to 20 percent year-over-year, as Apple has seen sales declines across its iPad lineup. Kuo said Apple could bring big changes to the iPad lineup in 2018, with the adoption of a flexible AMOLED panel for increased screen resolution and radical changes to form-factor.

As with all rumors, we encourage our readers to take the latest iPad reports with a grain of salt. MacRumors reports Mac Otakara has a spotty past on rumors, correctly pegging some and missing others.