New iPad rumors: Planned Apple Store outage on Tuesday—could it be new iPads?

Spring is just around the corner, which means we’re likely getting close to another Apple event—and the rumor mill is starting to churn. As first spotted by MacRumors, Japanese site Mac Otakara recently claimed that Apple will host an event in March with its new iPad Pro lineup in the starring role. But now we’re not so sure—maybe an event will happen in April, after Apple Park opens, or perhaps Apple will just update the product mix in the Apple Store without a press event at all.

Until it’s official, we’ll collect every rumor here and add our two cents, right up until the moment the new models are unveiled onstage.

What’s the latest?

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Report: Apple working on new Mac chip to reduce reliance on Intel processors

Speculation about Apple creating its own chips to replace Intel processors has long been part of what keeps the Apple rumor mill churning. On Wednesday, a Bloomberg report provided more fuel for the mill, with details on what Apple could be doing to rely less and less on Intel.

According to a report by Mark Gurman and Ian King that cites unnamed sources, Apple is working on a new Mac microcontroller that would handle processes that are currently performed by Intel processors. Apple’s new Mac chip is based on the T1 chip used in the new MacBook Pro to run the laptop’s Touch Bar. Codenamed T310, the chip would handle low-power mode functions usually performed while the Mac is engaged in Power Nap: receiving email; syncing data in apps like Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes; software updates; and more.

Like the T1, the T310 is an ARM-based chip. Using an ARM-based chip instead of an Intel one would further reduce power consumption. The T1 is solely dedicated to the Touch Bar, but the T310, according to Gurman and King’s sources, would have more integration with other hardware components, such as storage and wireless components.

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Apple Pencil 2 might be coming this spring, along with a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro

The new Apple Pencil could work on your iPad, your iPhone, and even on your new MacBook Pro.

Apple will reportedly unveil the Apple Pencil 2 in March, alongside a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, according to Chinese website Wei Feng. The Apple Pencil was first introduced in late 2015, and there hasn’t been an iPad Pro update since March 2016, when Apple unveiled the 9.7-inch model. 

The report does not disclose any details about the new features on the Apple Pencil 2, but according to Mashable, it’s possible that the improved stylus could incorporate magnetic connectors so that it will easily attach to the side of the iPad Pro. This rumor stems from a patent that Apple first filed back in 2015.

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iOS

Apple will reportedly launch 3 new iPad models in spring 2017

It looks like 2017 is gearing up to be the year of the iPad.

Apple is launching three new iPad models in the spring of 2017, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new iPad models coming our way include the second-generation update to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that was first introduced in 2015, a brand-new 10- or 10.5-inch model with a narrow bezel design, as well as a budget-friendly 9.7-inch option.

The larger, high-end iPads will sport an A10X chip, while the lower-priced iPad will come with the A9 chip. The A10X chip is a pumped-up version of the A10 chip currently powering the iPhone 7. The A10X will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and the A9 chip, which powers the iPhone 6s, will continue to be made by Samsung.

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Rumor says Apple Watch Series 3 to bring battery, performance gains, little else

While all eyes are on the gizmos and gadgets being unveiled at CES this week, a new rumor is serving up some details about the next generation of Apple Watch. According to a report by the China-based Economic Daily News (and spotted by DigiTimes), the third generation of Apple’s wearable will focus on two key areas: battery life and performance.

Apple unveiled the second generation of Apple Watch alongside the iPhone 7 in September. Dubbed Series 2, the device features a brighter display, a better processor in the S2 chip, and water resistance, but kept the same design as its predecessor. Additionally, while Apple didn’t tout specific improvements to the battery, our testing found that the second-generation watch lasted much longer than the original model, pushing into a third day on a single charge.

This new report suggests Apple isn’t content with 2-3-day battery life, however. According to DigiTimes, the paper said that improving battery efficiency will be the main focus for the new Apple Watch and other areas “will not see much change.” Previous rumors pegged Apple Watch Series 3 for using more energy-efficient micro LED screens rather than OLED.

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Report: Apple will debut AR in one or two years, maybe in its self-driving car tech

Apple may be lagging behind when it comes to augmented reality now—but once the company catches up, AR will be a prominent feature across all of Apple’s products.

Apple’s first foray into augmented reality will launch in the next year or two, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple’s AR technology will most likely be integrated into a next-generation iPhone, as we’ve already seen with iOS apps like Snapchat and Pokémon Go. It’s also possible that Apple plans to use the iPhone to power an all-new augmented reality headset.

In a note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo writes to investors that it makes sense for Apple to embrace AR, given Cupertino’s success with popularizing innovative user-interfaces. Kuo notes that Apple has fallen behind Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in the AR department because the technology is still premature, requiring bulky setups and a lot of computational power.

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The 2017 MacBook Pro may have more RAM and a lower price tag

Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pros haven’t even arrived in stores yet, but we already have an idea of what to expect from next year’s models.

The biggest rumored change is the addition of 32GB of RAM, which would be a welcome move—the just-announced Pros top out at 16GB. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a reputation for accurate Apple product predictions, says more RAM depends on Intel, because Apple is waiting for Canonnlake processors.

Apple has taken some heat for its decision to top out at 16GB of RAM, which isn’t all that much for such an expensive, professional-grade laptop. But Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, said 32GB wouldn’t be power-efficient enough for a laptop, meaning it would gobble up tons of battery life.

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