The invitations have been sent for Apple's March 21st keynote at its Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to unveil its latest iPhone model dubbed the iPhone SE, a new 9.7-inch iPad model and new Apple Watch bands. Now that we know the official date let's look back at all the next-generation iPad rumors that led up to the event. Remember, none of these rumors have been officially confirmed, and we will not know for sure what Apple plans to launch at the upcoming event until it actually takes place.
iPad Air 3
The next-generation 9.7-inch iPad will not be called the iPad Air 3, according to 9to5Mac. Recent rumors have already suggested that the latest 9.7-inch iPad model will borrow several features introduced on the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but according to unnamed sources, it will also utilize the Pro name, thus putting an end to the iPad Air lineup.
9to5Mac reports that the next-generation iPad will be introduced into the iPad Pro lineup at an Apple keynote to be held on March 15th. The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro will then go on sale on Friday, March 18th.
No current iPad models offer multiple user profiles at this time, but recent rumors have suggested that iOS 10 may bring them to the iPad. Apple introduced multiple user profiles for students to share a single iPad in its updated education tools in iOS 9.3. This has led some to speculate that Apple may offer this heavily requested feature to all iPad users with its next major iOS update. The next major update is expected to land in the fall of 2016 when Apple refreshes its iPhone lineup with the rumored iPhone 7.
Apple introduced the multitasking features Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture with the launch of iOS 9 in 2015. All the current models support these features including the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad mini 4. It is safe to assume that the iPad Air 3 will also support all three of iOS 9's multitasking features when it is released.
Apple's next generation 9.7-inch tablet will be available in Rose Gold when it is released next month, according to 9to5Mac. The Apple blog reports that there are already "Rose Gold variations of the upcoming iPad Air 3 floating around Apple’s campus." Apple is also allegedly considering bringing the Rose Gold color to the next-generation 12-inch MacBook and the iPad mini.
Apple did not announce an iPad Air 3 like expected at its March 21, 2016 keynote. Instead it announced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with Apple Pencil support.
Update: Apple did not release an iPad Air 3 like expected on March 21, 2016. Instead Tim Cook and team unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. You can learn more about the iPad Pro camera here.
Up until recently it wasn't even clear if Apple would refresh its 9.7-inch iPad lineup, but numerous leaks, analysts predictions and a recent report by 9to5Mac all seem to indicate that the iPhone-maker will announce an iPad Air 3 in March. According to Mark Gurman, Apple is set to announce two new devices plus new Apple Watch bands during a keynote tentatively scheduled for March 15.
A leaked image of an iPad Air 3 case hints that the new tablet will include Apple's new Smart Connector. The Smart Connector allows the iPad to easily share data and power with Apple's Smart Keyboard. The Smart Connector was originally introduced with the release of the iPad Pro. Apple is also expected to add several iPad Pro features to the iPad Air 3, including four speakers, and a 4K resolution display.