Is Apple about to quietly release its first brand new products of the year? Are tablets now such an afterthought that new iPads aren’t even important enough to warrant their own Apple press conference? Those questions and more should be answered shortly — the online Apple store went down shortly after midnight this morning, and it’s still down right now. No one is quite sure exactly why the Apple store was taken offline, though the outage was scheduled and was noted on Apple’s system status page on Monday ahead of today’s outage. While it’s entirely possible that Apple is just performing server upgrades or some type of maintenance, recent rumors suggest the company might be preparing to quietly release several new iPad tablets.
We all know Apple tends to release new iPads around this time every year, and rumors last week stated that Apple could have new iPad models in store as soon as this week. With the Apple store currently offline and Apple’s typical “we have something special in store for you” message plastered across the online shop’s landing page, it’s entirely possible that those rumors are about to pan out.
Apple reportedly has multiple new iPad models in store for fans this year. Included among them is a refreshed 9.7-inch iPad, an updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and a completely new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model that might feature a new design with narrower bezels. The device is said to be about the same size as Apple’s current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and it may replace that model when it’s released, pushing the 9.7-inch iPad into entry-level range.
Will the new 10.5-inch model be released on Tuesday along with the other new iPads that might appear in the Apple store? Probably not.
Apple seems unlikely to introduce its new design with shrunken bezels on an iPad ahead of the iPhone 8 set to debut later this year. What’s more, a post on Monday from Daring Fireball smelled an awful lot like a plant from Apple PR intended to set expectations for today’s launch. Nothing is confirmed, of course, but Apple PR does love to plant stories in order to help keep expectations in line with reality when the rumor mill gets too carried away.
Whatever the case, all will be revealed shortly — Apple’s online store outage was supposed to last for about six hours according to the company’s system status website, and we’re now approaching hour seven. Also of note, if new iPads are released today, you can expect embargoed previews to be published the moment the Apple store comes back online.