As WWDC approaches, we’ve heard plenty of reports about iOS 17, but the iPadOS 17 rumor mill has been pretty quiet. According to a new report, there may be a reason for that: Apple is reportedly working on a “special” version of iPadOS 17 that will debut alongside the long-rumored 14-inch model.
According to Analyst941 on Twitter, which has already leaked a ton of information about iOS 17 and watchOS 10, there is a “special version of iPadOS 17, being developed specifically for larger iPad Pro/Ultra/Studio model(s)” in the works at Apple. It’s unclear when (or if) this version of iPadOS 17 would launch, but it’s been rumored for years that Apple is working on an iPad larger than the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Analyst941 doesn’t offer any details about the interface or features but shares this one interesting tidbit: The 14-inch model will bring support for two external 6K displays at 60Hz. The current iPad Pro with an M2 processor can connect a single external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, the same limitation as the other M2 Macs. However, the M2 Pro chip supports two 6K displays over Thunderbolt, which suggests the 14-inch iPad will have an M2 Pro or M3 Pro processor and possibly a second Thunderbolt port.
Support for multiple displays would cement the iPad as a Mac alternative and expand the capabilities of Stage Manger, which now is limited to a single external display. Apple finally opened the iPad to proper external display support with iOS 16, letting users multitask and work in separate apps and drag and drop files and windows between the two screens. Previous versions of iPadOS were mostly limited to screen mirroring.
These features are unlikely to make an appearance at WWDC, however. While we’re expecting to get the customizable Lock Screen and other features in iPadOS 17, the features here will likely arrive as part of a mid-cycle release alongside the M3 iPad Pro and 14-inch iPad Pro.