Oct 3, 2018

New iPad Pro

Here's the thing, Apple is very consistent. When the iPhone XS and XS Max were launched last month, they had the most powerful components in any iOS gadget. And that's the way it does things, prioritizing the iPhone over other products and, for some elements, letting the iPad use tested technology.

So, when the first iPad Pro was launched in 2015, it had the largest screen yet on an iOS device, but it featured, for example, first-generation Touch ID, not the second-gen fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone 6s that had launched just two months before. Though it did have a souped-up version of the iPhone 6s processor. Now, rumors which are building towards a new iPad Pro seem to suggest something pretty exciting. 

We've already commented on some of these, like the release date, a USB-C connector which will allow output of high-resolution video and a new smart connector, possibly called the Magnetic Connector which could give rise to a bunch of new accessories. And now, the estimable Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac has suggested that the next iPad Pro could have a processor faster than the super-fast one found in the latest iPhones, that is the XS, XS Max and forthcoming XR.

Rambo is pretty reliable and his predictions usually come true. He's cagey about where he's getting his information, merely citing "sources familiar with the development of the new 2018 iPad Pro". He's updated his previous comments to add details of the processor which could be on the new tablet.

He claims we'll be seeing the A12X processor in the next iPad Pro. He says it's similar to the A12 processor in the latest flagship iPhones but - get this - even faster! We were in the room, as it happened, back in 2010 when Steve Jobs revealed the first iPad, and, in an almost throwaway remark he commented on the chip on board the iPad, called the A4, when he said, "And it's all our own silicon."

It was the first in what is now a series of custom-designed processors in iOS devices. In recent years, Apple has followed a roughly similar path. A10 Fusion was the processor on board the iPhone 6S in September 2016, followed by the A10X Fusion in the iPad Pro second-generation model nine months afterwards.

But this time, the move to the super-fast, in fact, fastest-ever processor from Apple, which is likely to be powering the iPad Pro, will follow in very swift succession. In a sense, this alacrity is no surprise. Because the last X processor was that A10X on the 10.5in iPad Pro (and the re-issue of the 12.9in model) in June 2017. So, it's more than a year ago.

Since the new iPad Pro is rumored to be a Very Big Update, putting a fast X version of the Apple A12 Bionic chip into it would seem sensible. Rambo goes further, not only claiming it will be faster than the chip in the latest iPhones but also that it will include a super-powerful A12X GPU, as well as the CPU.

Apple's control of the processor is now total, and its introduction of the A12X, if that's what we see in the next few weeks, is potentially very exciting.