iPad Pro rumor points to new models next spring

The only updates to Apple's iPad lineup so far this fall are storage boosts and a few price drops, which is fueling rumors that Cupertino might announce bigger changes next spring.

The latest comes from Japanese blog Macotakara, which reported that a third iPad Pro size is in the works, potentially intended to replace the current iPad mini. Citing "well-placed" sources, the blog said that the new 7.9-inch iPad Pro could include some of the features of the current Pro models, including four speakers and a True Tone display.

It would also include a 12MP camera and serve as a replacement for the iPad mini 4, which would presumably be discontinued. The flagship 12.9-inch iPad Pro would remain, and the current smallest Pro model would get a slight screen size bump to 10.1 inches, up from 9.7 inches.

Macotakara's report largely corroborates the last major iPad rumor, which came from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo by way of MacRumors. In an August note, Kuo predicted a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, and a new, "low-cost" 9.7-inch model. The two rumors suggest slightly different sizes and names for the new models, but are otherwise similar.

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Looking even further into the future, Kuo also suggested that Apple will release a model in 2018 "at the earliest" with "radical" design changes and a flexible AMOLED display. An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its future iPad plans.

If you're in the market for an iPad Pro but were waiting to see if Apple would refresh the lineup at its Sept. 7 event (it didn't), you might still buy now to take advantage of lower prices.

The 128GB and 256GB versions of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro recently had their prices lowered, to $899 and $999, respectively. Apple previously offered them at $949 and $1,099. The base 32GB iPad Pro keeps its $799 price tag. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is available in the same configurations, albeit $200 cheaper than their larger cousins.