As the excitement grows ahead of Apple’s March 21st event, the team at TechSmart has given us the best look yet at the upcoming 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Taking inspiration from Sonny Dickson’s procurement of a leaked iPad case, Keaton Keller has powered up his 3D Printer to reverse engineer an iPad Pro design which would fit the case. It uses the information gleaned from the cut-outs and ergonomics of the case, and mixes in what we know about the next generation tablet from Apple.
Notable in the video are the increased prominence of the speakers thanks to the speaker cut-outs. This ties in with the use of improved audio components moving down from the 12.9 inch iPad Pro to this newer 9.7 inch device. It also means increasing the speaker count to four so the new iPad can provide an audio output at each corner of the tablet.
The smart connector on the long edge is also present, which will allow the third-party keyboard market to use a physical connection to the tablet as opposed to the use of BlueTooth. Apple will more than likely have a smart keyboard cover to ship with the new device but expect the peripheral manufacturers to make good use of this.
There’s also a smaller cut-out under the camera, and the natural assumption is that this will be for an LED flash. Curiously, a headphone jack cut-out is still present. Apple may be considering the removal of this port on the presumptively titled iPhone 7, but that courageous move is not happening just yet.
Taken as a whole, the design shows that Apple is still taking its now customary iterative approach to design, only changing major features when the technology demands it. The front of the iPad is going to look like pretty much every iPad that has come before it.
What’s not on show here is the potential screen that will be used in the iPad. Although the size is know, I’ll be interested to see if Apple has managed to address the challenge of fitting 3D Touch to a larger screened device. In a perfect world 3D Touch will be implemented and allow iOS to evolve new UI paradigms, but the technical barriers may be too high at this moment in time.
These details are still speculative and will be confirmed at the March 21st event, but I’m confident that the leaks and details are correct. In terms of design this ‘best guess’ puts all the bits in all the sensible places. But it also leaves me with one over-riding thought.
A red iPad looks really nice!
Written by Ewan Spence of Forbes