Now that the iPhone 7 has been available for a couple of weeks focus has switched to Apple's next-generation tablets, and today the first major iPad rumor was published by Japanese blog Mac Otakara (via Mac Rumors). Citing "reliable sources," Mac Otakara claims Apple will release three new iPad Pro models in Spring 2017. These will include a new 7.9-inch iPad mini model, a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro model and a new 12.9-inch model.
The next-generation 12.9-inch model is rumored to include a True Tone display and 12-megapixel iSight camera, like the current 9.7-inch model.
What's most interesting about Mac Otakara's report is that Apple will allegedly continue the iPad mini lineup by releasing a 7.9-inch iPad Pro. The iPad mini 4 successor will also be equipped with a Smart Connector, True Tone display, four speakers, and a 12-megapixel like its predecessors, the 12.9 and 9.7-inch iPad Pro models.
There has been speculation that Apple might discontinue the iPad mini since there hasn't been a refresh since September 9, 2015.
As for Apple releasing three new models in 2017, we have heard this prediction before when noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that Apple will release an iPad Pro 2, a new 10.5-inch iPad and a "low cost" 9.7-inch model sometime next year. If true, then this would mean does Apple plan to discontinue the iPad mini in favor of a more affordable 9.7-inch model, but Apple isn't really known for releasing "low cost" hardware.
It would make more sense for Apple to just refresh its current lineup with new specs and add the 7.9-inch model to the iPad Pro family, rather than release a different sized 10-inch model.