In Depth

iPad Pro 2020 news: 3D sensing camera, A13X chip, iPadOS and more

Apple’s range-topping tablet is set to undergo its second major revamp in just 18 months

Rumours are running wild ahead of Apple’s product keynote next month, particularly as a new iPhone will allegedly debut at the event. However, attention has been temporarily drawn away from the new smartphone as rumours emerge about Apple’s next iPad Pro.

The Cupertino-based tech company announced its revamped iPad Pro range last October, bringing with it an all-new aluminium body that houses a near-bezel-free retina display. 

However, the latest reports suggest that the product will once again undergo a significant upgrade next year - and it’s on course to become the most powerful iOS-powered device to date.

Here are all the - unconfirmed - rumours and reports around the new iPad Pro:

When will the new iPad Pro come out?

Early rumours suggested that the new iPad Pro would arrive alongside the next iPhone in September, about a year on from the launch of the current-generation tablet. 

However, MacRumors says that the new tablet will reportedly launch in March 2020.

3D sensing “time-of-flight” camera

The iPad range typically comes with cameras that aren’t quite up to scratch against their iPhone counterparts. That could change on the next model, though, as the latest reports point to a trick new camera system.

Korean tech news site The Elec claims that the next iPad Pro’s camera will be equipped with a “time-of-flight” sensor, which is commonly referred to as a 3D-sensing camera. The sensor is capable of mapping out the world around the user by analysing how light reacts with 3D objects. 

The technology is primarily used to improve depth of field effects, says TrustedReviews, where users can blur the background of an image while leaving the subject in focus. The tech can also be used for augmented reality (AR) features, where 3D objects are placed onto real-world images.

It’s believed that the time-of-flight sensor will debut on the new iPad Pro in March, before appearing on the next iPhones towards the end of the year. 

Powered by the “A13X” chip

According to Macworld, the next iPad Pro will be powered by Apple’s next-generation mobile processor. It’s often referred to as the “A13X”, given that the current-generation iPad Pro range is powered by the A12X chip. 

Details about the chip are scarce, but the tech news site predicts improved “power efficiency”, suggesting that users will be able to run battery-intensive apps for longer.

As the new iPhone will be powered by the regular A13 chip, the faster “X” version in the iPad Pro should make it the most powerful iOS device ever made.  

iPadOS 

Since the original model launched in 2011, iPads have all been powered by Apple’s iOS mobile software. This year, however, the company will introduce some major changes to its mobile system that aims to offer a more PC-like experience for iPad users. 

iPadOS will be “built on the same foundation” as the upcoming iOS 13 update, albeit with “unique, powerful capabilities” that are best suited to the larger displays on Apple’s tablets, says Pocket-lint

Among the changes are a new home screen, which bears a resemblance to the macOS computer software, that allows you to add folders to the dock and pin widgets to the front page. There’s also a new “Sidecar” feature, letting you use your iPad’s display as a secondary computer screen, the tech site notes. 

The new software will be available on Apple’s more recent tablets, though the new iPad Pro should be the first product to launch with the software built-in. 

Will it support 5G?

No. While ultra-fast 5G networks are rolling out across the UK, Apple’s upcoming range of iPhones and iPads won’t be capable of connecting to the signal, according to reports. 

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told AppleInsider that the tech giant won’t launch a 5G-compatible iPad model until 2021. This is because Apple is rumoured to be working on a new form of computer board that makes use of “Liquid Crystal Polymer” materials, which it hopes will set the foundations for its 5G modem.

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