The iPad Air 3, which was what we expected Apple to call the next-generation 9.7″ tablet, is no longer going to be an “Air” but a “Pro.” A report on 9to5Mac suggests that Apple will be dropping the “Air” name from their iPad lineup and instead offering the tablet as a smaller version of the iPad Pro.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the next-generation 9.7″ iPad will be part of the iPad Pro lineup. Rumors still point to specs matching that of the iPad Pro: A9X processor, dual-speaker system and support for Apple’s smart accessories. The iPad Pro will work with the pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil and have a Smart Connector for a smaller version of Apple’s Smart Keyboard. Their new keyboard will be announced at the event alongside the tablet.
The iPad Pro (mini??) will have the same color options, same storage sizes and same cellular models as the current iPad Pro, but it will be priced more closely to the iPad Air 2. Apple has also been winding down production for the iPad mini 2 and iPad Air (1st gen.) so these will probably be discontinued soon. In addition, the iPad Air 2 will probably see a drop in price and be discontinued in the fall.
The new 9.7″ iPad Pro will be announced alongside the rumored iPhone SE and new Apple Watch bands at a special media event on March 15th with the release date for all new products planned for March 18th.