Apple Inc. is working on a new iPad Pro with wireless charging and the first iPad mini redesign in six years, seeking to continue momentum for a category that saw rejuvenated sales during the pandemic.
The Cupertino, California-based company is planning to release the new iPad Pro in 2022 and the iPad mini later this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The main design change in testing for the iPad Pro is a switch to a glass back from the current aluminum enclosure. The updated iPad mini is planned to have narrower screen borders while the removal of its home button has also been tested.
The new iPad Pro is also expected to house the magnets necessary for charging through a MagSafe outlet. To enable charging via MagSafe, Apple will have to install an array of magnets around the charging coils underneath the glass back.
This new arrangement might also help Apple provide reverse charging with the iPad Pro. Given the enormous size of the battery, the iPad Pro can prove to be a good power bank on the go for products such as iPhone or AirPods.
The availability of wireless charging won't steal users of a conventional port. Apple is expected to house a Thunderbolt port with the upcoming iPad Pro to provide a relatively high charging speed.
Apple was expected to launch a new iPad mini at its hardware event in April. However, the only iPad announced was the 2021 iPad Pro with an M1 chip.
The iPad became an increasingly key part of Apple’s portfolio over the past year as people looked for new ways to work, study and stay entertained at home during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Sales of iPads jumped 43% during the last six months of 2020 compared with a year earlier. The gains continued in the first three months of 2021 when the tablets generated $7.8 billion -- a 79% increase from the same quarter a year earlier.