What to expect from Apple's rumored iPad refresh in March

2016 iPad Lineup

Apple hasn't released a new iPad model since March 2016 when it launched the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This means it's time for a refresh, and the company is expected to deliver big next month during its first major keynote of 2017. Unlike previous Apple product launches, details about the next-generation iPad models have been sketchy at best. While most reports about Apple's alleged plans have been similar, a few have conflicted with each other making things even more confusing. Here's what Apple is expected to announce in March, according to all the recent rumors.

The following is a list of alleged products Apple will announce in March 2017. Most of these iPad rumors have come from the Japanese blog Macotakara, the DigiTimes, and analysts from Kgi Securities, Barclays and most recently IHS Markit. Apple has not officially announced any upcoming events, and none of these products have been officially confirmed.

7.9-inch iPad mini Pro -- There hasn't been much talk about a new iPad mini, leading many to believe that Apple is planning to discontinue the 7.9-inch device. However, a recent report noted that the smaller tablet would be joining Apple's Pro tablet lineup this March. Rumored specs for the iPad mini Pro include a Smart Connector, a 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash and Apple's A9X processor.

9.7-inch iPad -- Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Kgi Securities kicked off the "low-cost" 9.7-inch iPad rumors back in 2016. The rumor has since been repeated many times, but nobody has taken a stab at guessing what "low-cost" means. Apple isn't known for releasing entry level devices, which has always made this claim hard to swallow. The "low-cost" 9.7-inch iPad could potentially replace the iPad Air 2 in Apple's refreshed lineup starting at $399.

Unnamed 10.5-inch iPad -- Everyone seems to agree that Apple plans to unveil a new 10-inch iPad. The rumored tablet will include smaller bezels making it basically the same physical size as Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It is rumored to sport a 2,224×1,668 display with the same pixel density as the iPad Pro (264 ppi). Other rumors have suggested it will ship with a digital Home button instead of a physical button, like current iOS devices.

12.9-inch iPad Pro -- The original iPad Pro will get a successor in March but details about the second-generation 12.9-inch tablet have been slim. Most of the current iPad rumors have been focused on the new 10-inch model.

Apple Pencil 2 -- Apple's stylus will be upgraded with a new magnetic system and pen-like clip for attaching it to your iPad.

Macotakara and the DigiTimes sources agree that both the new 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad models will launch in March, while the 10.5-inch iPad will launch in May-June. It is unknown when the rumored 7.9-inch iPad Pro will be available, if it is even launched at all.