There’s a gap in Apple’s tablet lineup. While 2015 saw the release of a new iPad mini, as well as the jumbo-sized iPad Pro, the last time we got a new iPad with the tablet’s traditional 9.7-inch screen size was all the way back in 2014, when the iPad Air 2 launched. And while the Air 2 is still a very capable tablet, it’s more than overdue for a refresh. We’ve been looking forward to Apple’s rumored March event for when the company finally might step up with the new iPad Air 3 model, but a now a new report suggests we’re about to see a significant shift in the company’s branding as Apple gives us not an iPad Air 3, but a new 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro.

What’s in a name, anyway? Apple appears to be cooling to the “Air” branding on its laptops, and that move could extend over to its tablets, as well. Certainly, from rumors we’ve heard about possible Apple Pencil support and the presence of a Smart Connector for use with a new Smart Keyboard accessory, what we’ve been calling the iPad Air 3 already sounded like it had a lot in common with the iPad Pro already.

So far, we’d been associating the “Pro” moniker with physically larger hardware, but if we look at it as support for these kind of accessories, instead, it makes perfect sense to call the new 9.7-inch iPad a Pro.

Reportedly, Apple would discontinue sales of the original iPad Air (and the old iPad mini 2) when this 9.7-inch iPad Pro arrives, though the iPad Air 2 could stick around for the foreseeable future.

Source: 9to5 Mac

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