Apple’s November launch of the iPad Pro didn’t really do much to alleviate slumping iPad sales. In fact, Apple’s most recent earnings report revealed that year over year iPad sales were down 25% while iPad-based revenue was down 21% year over year.
Nonetheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly stated that he remains confident in the iPad’s long-term success. That being the case, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Apple will reportedly release an iPad Air 3 sometime in early 2016. In turn, the volume of iPad Air 3 rumors sprouting up has started to increase substantially over the past few weeks.
Most recently, a new leak of a purported iPad Air 3 case suggests that Apple’s next-gen tablet will feature a four-speaker design and LED flash support (note the shapes of the case cut-outs below).
What’s more, one of the leaked case images includes a cut-out suggesting that the iPad Air 3 will incorporate a Smart Connector for various accessories.
Originally introduced on the iPad Pro, Apple touts its Smart Connector as follows:
The Smart Connector is a new interface that takes advantage of the two-way conductive fabric in the Smart Keyboard. It allows iPad Pro to provide power to the Smart Keyboard and lets the Smart Keyboard relay each of your keystrokes back to iPad Pro.
Other recent rumors suggest that the iPad Air 3 may include a 4K display, support for the lauded Apple Pencil, a blazing fast A9x processor and a respectable 4GB of RAM. Not only that, but battery life on Apple’s next-gen tablet is also said to be improved. Notably, one feature not likely to make it into the iPad Air 3 is 3D Touch, this according to hazy reports from Apple’s supply chain.
Finally, it’s widely believed that Apple will officially introduce the iPad Air 3 at a special media event sometime in March, alongside a slightly enhanced Apple Watch and the rumored iPhone 5se.