A model said to be an industrial prototype of the upcoming 12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ has surfaced, giving a look at what the larger tablet might look like in-hand. Discovered on Chinese Twitter-like site Weibo by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translation] the machined aluminum is said to be a reference for creating cases and other accessories.
The design of the mockup is very rudimentary and while it is said to be the iPad Pro, it is impossible to determine the exact size of the prototype from the photos. It is also not clear if this „prototype“ is based on any type of legitimate specifications as Apple is said to be multiple months away from releasing a larger tablet. Along with a larger size, the model also has an Apple logo and a rear camera cutout. At 12.9-inches, the iPad Pro would be similar in size to a 13-inch MacBook Air and quite a bit larger than the existing 9.7-inch iPad Air.
Rendering of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air
News that Apple was testing displays for a larger 12.9-inch iPad first surfaced in July of last year in a report from The Wall Street Journal. While initial rumors suggested Apple could release the device in 2014, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has pointed towards a possible 2015 launch date for the device, while Digitimes indicated in March that development on the tablet had been shelved in favor of other projects.
Rumors have suggested the iPad Pro, if released, will adopt many of the same design elements offered in the current iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, including an ultrathin chassis and narrow side bezels. It is also rumored to include an ultra high-definition display.