Alleged 'iPad Air 3' case suggests Smart Connector coming to Apple's 9.7-inch tablet

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Many of the features introduced in last year's iPad Pro, including the new Smart Connector magnetic port and four-speaker array, may be coming toon to the third-generation iPad Air, if third-party cases being manufactured in China are accurate.




Cases allegedly designed for a new 9.7-inch iPad were spotlighted on Sunday by Macotakara. They show a design largely in line with the iPad Pro, including a space for the Smart Connector, suggesting support for connected keyboard and other accessories could be expanded.

Aside from the Smart Connector space and holes for four speakers, the design looks largely unchanged from the iPad Air 2, which itself is very similar to the iPad Pro. That includes a headphone jack and lock button up top, volume buttons on the right side, and a camera on the back.

The hole cut out for the camera does extend downward, which some have taken to mean the new "iPad Air 3" could feature a rear camera flash. That's in line with design illustrations supposedly for a next-generation iPad Air that leaked online earlier this month.




The iPad Pro does not have a rear camera flash, so if the iPad Air lineup were to gain one, it would represent at least one specification where the smaller model offers more features.

Apple is widely expected to introduce an "iPad Air 3" in the first half of 2016, likely at a forthcoming March event where the company is also rumored to showcase a new 4-inch iPhone and more Apple Watch styles and bands. The company is also expected to introduce new MacBooks in the first half of the year, sporting Intel's latest-generation "Skylake" processors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    Why would a smaller iPad Pro be called the iPad Air 3? There is a $200 gap between the Air 2 and the Pro for a new product to slot into.
    Mr_Grey
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    This makes a lot of sense and not just for keyboards.  Imagine charging stands and monitor support.  

    The iPad would be a more attractive value proposition if one could walk up to a desktop, click it into a keyboard/cradle that has OS X built in, and use it as the monitor.  iOS while mobile, OS X when seated in the connector.    

    I wonder if they will do it for the iPad mini.  The keyboard cases for iPad are bad enough, the ones for the mini are almost unusable.  I suppose so though.  If there is one thing Apple really likes to do it's make everything the same regardless of whether it makes any sense. 
    jony0mattinoz[Deleted User]
  • Reply 3 of 28
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member

    Why would a smaller iPad Pro be called the iPad Air 3? There is a $200 gap between the Air 2 and the Pro for a new product to slot into.
    Indeed. I don't think I'm alone in being supremely tired of the gimmicky "Air" moniker.  

    I thought it was a pretty cheesy designation even for the first one.  It's only ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the other iPads.  Hardly revolutionary. 
  • Reply 4 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,498member
    Mr_Grey said:
    This makes a lot of sense and not just for keyboards.  Imagine charging stands and monitor support.  

    The iPad would be a more attractive value proposition if one could walk up to a desktop, click it into a keyboard/cradle that has OS X built in, and use it as the monitor.  iOS while mobile, OS X when seated in the connector.    

    I wonder if they will do it for the iPad mini.  The keyboard cases for iPad are bad enough, the ones for the mini are almost unusable.  I suppose so though.  If there is one thing Apple really likes to do it's make everything the same regardless of whether it makes any sense. 
    It does make a lot of sense, iOS when mobile, and iDevices as input/output to Mac's when seated (but not running OS X).

    I would expect Apple is trying out various compositions of Macs and iDevices to see what works and what doesn't, and then adding the successful configurations to its roadmap.

    For me the key event for Mac's is the adoption of TB 3/USB C, as it will be another milestone for bandwidth that will drive solutions for creatives for five years and beyond. iDevices in the Apple ecosystem would benefit greatly from configurations that facilitate higher, low latency bandwidth, as both input and output for Mac OS. I would expect all future iPad's and iPhone's to support 5 Mb/s with some jump in the future to 10 Mb as resolution makes another leap.

    Of course, Apple need to make it a seamless experience to move data around, and that isn't the case today, but it likely will be.
    flaneur
  • Reply 5 of 28
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    tmay said:
    ... For me the key event for Mac's is the adoption of TB 3/USB C, ...
    I would like to see Apple instead "gift" the lightning connector to the USB group as a replacement.  In essence I agree with what you're saying, I just think that lightning could carry all the same data and it's just a better plug.  To me, USB-C is only really a better plug compared to it's clunky USB predecessors.   
    jony0lolliver1983[Deleted User]Rayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 28
    Mr_Grey said:

    Why would a smaller iPad Pro be called the iPad Air 3? There is a $200 gap between the Air 2 and the Pro for a new product to slot into.
    Indeed. I don't think I'm alone in being supremely tired of the gimmicky "Air" moniker.  

    I thought it was a pretty cheesy designation even for the first one.  It's only ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the other iPads.  Hardly revolutionary. 
    It was 1 pound vs 1.5 pounds and almost half as thick. Yeah, some "ever so slight" improvement. 


    Meanwhile, back in the real world, I just hope we can get a good Logitech Create keyboard for the Air 3 as well. 
    lolliverirelandpatchythepiratebestkeptsecret[Deleted User]Rayz2016williamlondonflaneurnolamacguy
  • Reply 7 of 28
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    Mr_Grey said:

    Indeed. I don't think I'm alone in being supremely tired of the gimmicky "Air" moniker.  

    I thought it was a pretty cheesy designation even for the first one.  It's only ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the other iPads.  Hardly revolutionary. 
    It was 1 pound vs 1.5 pounds and almost half as thick. Yeah, some "ever so slight" improvement. 
    ...
    I guess I exaggerated a bit.  It was about a third lighter as you say, but only a third thinner though (not half).  Still it didn't seem to me (or many others) to be so radically different as to be deserving of the "Air" name.  It's certainly a subjective determination though.  Others will of course think differently.  
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 8 of 28
    Mr_Grey said:
    Others will of course think differently.  
    Think differently? And that's Jenga!
  • Reply 9 of 28
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,686member
    Mr_Grey said:
    This makes a lot of sense and not just for keyboards.  Imagine charging stands and monitor support.  

    The iPad would be a more attractive value proposition if one could walk up to a desktop, click it into a keyboard/cradle that has OS X built in, and use it as the monitor.  iOS while mobile, OS X when seated in the connector.    

    I wonder if they will do it for the iPad mini.  The keyboard cases for iPad are bad enough, the ones for the mini are almost unusable.  I suppose so though.  If there is one thing Apple really likes to do it's make everything the same regardless of whether it makes any sense. 
    If Apple wanted to turn Apple Pay into a full transaction system then the smart connector would be the way to go as well for card readers.
    Physical connection would be better for security and means device needs no power and still leaves the lightening connector free. Allow accessory makers to build POS stands.

    Then again if that is the way they go we should see the new port on the new iPhones.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Why would a smaller iPad Pro be called the iPad Air 3? There is a $200 gap between the Air 2 and the Pro for a new product to slot into.
    Because iPad Air isn't a smaller iPad Pro, that is a totally asinine concept. IPad Pro is just leading the evolution of the iPad line up, new tech today is base tech tomorrow.
    1983nolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 28
    "Every inch an iPad ...Pro!"
  • Reply 12 of 28
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,189member
    For me, the iPad Mini is perfect, but I'm glad that Apple is covering all of its bases and audiences.
    ireland[Deleted User]
  • Reply 13 of 28
    bluefire1 said:
    For me, the iPad Mini is perfect, but I'm glad that Apple is covering all of its bases and audiences.
    Can't wait to see what Apple has in store for iPad Pro 2 later this year.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,557member
    wizard69 said:
    Why would a smaller iPad Pro be called the iPad Air 3? There is a $200 gap between the Air 2 and the Pro for a new product to slot into.
    Because iPad Air isn't a smaller iPad Pro, that is a totally asinine concept. IPad Pro is just leading the evolution of the iPad line up, new tech today is base tech tomorrow.
    If the 9.7" comes with the specs that it's rumored to get, essentially it will be a smaller iPad Pro.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 28
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    matrix077 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    For me, the iPad Mini is perfect, but I'm glad that Apple is covering all of its bases and audiences.
    Can't wait to see what Apple has in store for iPad Pro 2 later this year.
    Wouldn't shock me to see no iPad Pro 2 this year. The hardware is great, it's the software that people seem to want more from when it comes to pro integration.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member

    wizard69 said:
    Because iPad Air isn't a smaller iPad Pro, that is a totally asinine concept. IPad Pro is just leading the evolution of the iPad line up, new tech today is base tech tomorrow.
    If the 9.7" comes with the specs that it's rumored to get, essentially it will be a smaller iPad Pro.
    Where did you hear that rumour?
  • Reply 17 of 28
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,557member
  • Reply 18 of 28
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    wizard69 said:
    Because iPad Air isn't a smaller iPad Pro, that is a totally asinine concept. IPad Pro is just leading the evolution of the iPad line up, new tech today is base tech tomorrow.
    If the 9.7" comes with the specs that it's rumored to get, essentially it will be a smaller iPad Pro.
    Except not exact, cause it has a hell of a lot less battery, which means it will have underclock the A9X a lot, or clock the a9 much higher (the GPU in the A9 is not as goog so they'll probably go for the A9X).

    3D touch, totally improbable seeing as weight is a major issue right now with this and weight is the most important consideration in a tablet.
    Ability to use the pen, possible though that would have an effect on the battery size enough that I don't know how they'd resolve it.
    4GB, not probable AT ALL; we'll get 2GB.
    Having to underclock the A9X makes the use of the same resolution screen as the pro, a bit iffy, but possible.

    People always act like you can just shrink everything from one for factor into the other and it all will fit! Well, it won't; they'll have to be compromises.

  • Reply 19 of 28
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,040member
    Mr_Grey said:
    This makes a lot of sense and not just for keyboards.  Imagine charging stands and monitor support.  

    The iPad would be a more attractive value proposition if one could walk up to a desktop, click it into a keyboard/cradle that has OS X built in, and use it as the monitor.  iOS while mobile, OS X when seated in the connector.    

    I wonder if they will do it for the iPad mini.  The keyboard cases for iPad are bad enough, the ones for the mini are almost unusable.  I suppose so though.  If there is one thing Apple really likes to do it's make everything the same regardless of whether it makes any sense. 
    $100 monitor still works better than 9.7" iPad for display job. Why botther to use iPad as a monitor for a Mac built in a keyboard? That's beyond stupid in Apple design book, and no way Ive let it happen!
    edited February 2016 williamlondonpscooter63
  • Reply 20 of 28
    josujosu Posts: 217member
    No aluminium chassis leaks, no front panel leaks, I don't know...
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