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iPad 2020: release date, rumors, price, and what we want to see

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The 2020 iPad might get one of the most coveted features we've been waiting for, in the 10 years since Apple revealed the tablet. Apple's iconic slate has evolved significantly over the past decade, getting thinner, more powerful, and spawning offshoots like the extra-portable iPad mini and PC-esque iPad Pro. And we expect that evolution to continue in 2020. 

iPad 2020 rumors are already starting to surface, as Apple is known to reveal new iPad models as early as the spring of each year. Here's everything we expect from the iPad and iPad Pro in 2020, as well as our wishlist of what we'd like to see in Apple's next tablets. 

iPad 2020 release date 

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If Apple does have new iPads in the works for 2020, we could see them as soon as this spring. In 2019, Apple unveiled the latest iPad Air and iPad Mini in March, before following up in September with the latest 10.2-inch iPad (Apple's most popular model). Apple revealed the 2018 iPad at a special education-focused event in March of that year, so there is some precedent to Apple announcing new tablets in early spring.

When it comes to the iPad Pro, it's a bit harder to predict a release date. Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo stated we should see the new iPad Pro as early as this month (March 2020). And a new report suggests that production has already begun on the iPad Pro 2020, with a March release date as the target.

The latest fuel to the iPad Pro in 2020 predictions is that Apple Stores are running low on specific models. This, as always is leading folks to speculate Apple's halted production on the current iPad Pro and moved its resources to the newer models.

There was a rumor that we'll see a March event for new Apple products, but coronavirus concerns have apparently cancelled that, leaving folks wondering where we'd see the 2020 MacBook Pro too. 

The most recent iPad Pro models are the 12.9-inch and 11-inch variations we got in November 2018. Apple was long rumored to announce new models at a fabled October 2019 event, but that never came to pass. Given how long its been since the last iPad Pro, we do expect a new model to arrive in 2020. The next big Apple events (that we know about) are its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, as well as its typical iPhone reveal event in September. Of those events, it's possible that we'll see a new iPad Pro at the latter. 

iPad 2020 price 

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The base 10.2-inch iPad from 2019 sells for $329. Considering that this is Apple's most popular model, we wouldn't expect that price to change much for a 2020 version.

The latest iPad Air and iPad mini sell for $499 and $399, respectively. There's typically been a big gap between releases for these models, so we don't expect 2020 versions of them.

Then there's the iPad Pro, which currently starts at $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.-inch model. It's possible that some of the Pro's rumored features -- including a triple-camera array -- could bump those starting prices up, but we expect the next generation of iPad Pro to more or less stay in that same ballpark.

iPad 2020 specs

If Apple does have a new 10.2-inch iPad on the way for 2020, we're not expecting a huge upgrade specs-wise. The latest iPad features a 10.2-inch Retina display, Touch ID and an A10 Fusion chip, so we would expect at least a processor bump to an A11 or A12 Fusion CPU. We'd also love to see the iPad embrace Face ID and a bezel-less design, but we wouldn't hold our breath for it at this price.

The next iPad Pro will likely sport Apple's next A-series Bionic processor (potentially an A14X), which could seriously blow away even the biggest mainstream laptops. The upcoming iPhone 12's A14 chip is rumored to deliver MacBook Pro-level performance, which means its even beefier iPad Pro counterpart could make Apple's next slate even more of a true laptop replacement.

Other reports claim the iPad Pro will add 5G connectivity, though that version of the tablet may not ship until later in the fall when Apple also introduces the 5G-ready iPhone 12 lineup.

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An alleged mockup of the new iPad Pro obtained by Sonny Dickson shows what looks like a triple-camera array, suggesting that the next iPad Pro could adopt some of the iPhone 11 Pro's key photography features. Previous rumors suggest that the 2020 iPad Pro could also adopt a 3D time-of-flight (TOF) sensor for better portrait shots and more accurate augmented reality. 

The 2020 iPad Pro could also get a major display upgrade. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in September 2019 that the next iPad Pro models could adopt MiniLED technology, which could potentially allow for a slimmer and lighter tablet that still delivers OLED-quality visuals. In his Apple forecast for the first half of 2020, Kuo said the aforementioned triple-lens camera setup is a part of iPad Pros that are coming as early as March.

iPad 2020 features

Code inside of iOS 14 has tipped Apple's hand on a real iPad cursor in the making. Right now, the existing cursor is a bit too large and unwieldy, and we're hoping this design change also portends a true touchpad coming to the iPad.

We suspect such a touchpad is actually coming, thanks to a supply chain leak that said Apple's working on a smart keyboard with its own touchpad.

What we want from the iPad 2020 

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We still don't know what Apple's 2020 iPad lineup will look like, but we sure do have a few ideas of what we'd like to see. Here's our wishlist.

  • True cursor support: Last year's iPadOS sort of brought mouse support to the iPad, but it's buried within menus as an accessibility features. In the next iteration of iPadOS, we want to see true mouse support that lets us easily pair and use any of our Bluetooth mice with Apple's tablet. 
  • USB-C across the board: It's great that the iPad Pro has finally embraced USB-C, but we want to see the entry-level iPad embrace this popular connection standard as well. But given Apple's stance on the matter, we're not holding our breath. 
  • A better keyboard with touchpad: You know what would make the iPad or iPad Pro a true laptop replacement? An actual touchpad like that of the Surface Pro 7 or Galaxy Tab S6. We'd also love to see the iPad get the new MacBook Pro's scissor-switch keys, as rumors have suggested
  • A built-in kickstand: An integrated kickstand would make the entry-level iPad an even better tool for getting work done, as you'd be able to use just about any Bluetooth keyboard with minimal fuss. And it'd be especially great for propping the iPad up for Apple Arcade games. 
  • Just put macOS in there already: Hey, we can dream, right? 

These features would make the 2020 iPad and iPad Pro some of Apple's best slates yet, and could kick off yet another decade of great Apple slates. Be sure to bookmark this page, as we'll be keeping it up to date with all of the latest iPad 2020 rumors all year long.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored and was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.