Apple's rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro may be more like Microsoft's Surface tablet, assuming the latest round of rumors are correct. Insider sources claim Apple is looking at including USB 3.0 ports on the bigger screen model so users could attach keyboards and mice, along with external hard drives. Sources also claim Apple won't release the new model until September instead of this spring as some had hoped.
USB ports on the next iPad? Not likely.
Part of the reasoning behing adding USB ports to the larger iPad is faster data transfer speeds, according to an anonymous source speaking with the Wall Street Journal. "Apple has continued to rework some of the features of the larger iPad," they said. "It is now considering the faster technology for data synchronization between the larger iPad and other computing devices."
Adding USB ports to the iPad would add new expansion options, but seems like a big departure from Apple's streamlined product design and aesthetic. Adding USB would also blur the line between iPad and MacBook Air, and so far Apple was kept a distinct line between the product lines.
To get an idea of what an iPad with USB ports and external wired keyboard and mouse support would be like, look to Microsoft's Surface tablet product line. Surface is stuck on the line between a tablet and a laptop, and doesn't look as sleek and streamlined as the iPad. While many Surface owners have found ways to make Microsoft's tablet useful for them, the overall feel of the device is that it can't decide whether it's a tablet or a laptop.
The WSJ's insider sources also said Apple is delaying the iPad Pro launch until September. Since the larger format tablet hasn't been announced, and reported parts leaks are few and far between, it doesn't seem likely iPad Pro was ever slated for a spring release—assuming it's coming at all. With so little to go on, it seems more accurate to say there won't be a spring release instead of iPad Pro has been delayed until fall.
What we do know for certain is that Apple is hosting a media event on Monday, March 9 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. We also know a special building has been added to the side of the center, much like Apple did for the Apple Watch unveil last year. We'll likely get more details about Apple Watch pricing and release schedules, but it doesn't look like we'll get a surprise announcement about a bigger screen iPad.