New report calls for minor ninth-gen iPad design alterations, no iPad Pro (2021) changes

While the already oft-rumored iPhone 13 lineup is not exactly right around the corner, Apple could well be planning to unveil several new iPad models by the end of this very quarter. Surprisingly, one of these was recently said to follow in the footsteps of the non-Pro, non-Air, and non-Mini 10.2-inch slate released less than four months ago, although it remains unclear if that particular report will ultimately prove accurate.

Our guess is it won't, and while the latest inside info from an unnamed "Chinese supplier" relayed by the notoriously hit-and-miss Macotakara Blog over in Japan doesn't explicitly tackle a possible release timeline, one important detail speculated last month is unequivocally contradicted.

Instead of going up to a 10.5-inch display to match 2019's third-gen iPad Air, Apple's ninth-gen "regular" iPad is now expected to retain its predecessor's 10.2-inch screen size... while sporting an overall design "based on" the aforementioned iPad Air 3.

That's pretty confusing, but in retrospect, the same can essentially be said about the ever-growing iPad lineup of the last few years as well. All things considered, it would be somewhat disappointing to see a late 2021-released Apple tablet resemble the two year-old third-gen iPad Air rather than 2020's even prettier 10.9-incher

Still, it's certainly nice to hear the 10.2-inch iPad (2021) could reduce the overall thickness and weight of its identically sized forerunner from 7.5mm and 490 grams to 6.3mm and 460 grams. In pure Cupertino fashion, many other things are expected to stay the same, including a good old fashioned front-mounted Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Lightning port, and True Tone display technology.

As far as the next iPad Pro generation is concerned, Macotakara's sources claim the "display size and housing" of 2020's 11 and 12.9-inch powerhouses will go unchanged, but the "performance of A-Chip may be significantly improved."

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Curiously enough, there are no words on things like mini LED screen upgrades and 5G support this time around, nor do we have any idea when the next iPad Air and iPad Mini versions are set to arrive and what they might be able to offer in terms of improvements over their 2020 and 2019 predecessors respectively.

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