iPad Pro 2018 rumors: Faster processors, affordable variant possibly on the way?

(Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)The iPad Pro during a media event.

With the year drawing closer to a close, Apple has yet to release any new and concrete news of the upcoming iPad 2018. Rumors, however, continue to swirl, keeping fans and tech enthusiasts excited about the upcoming year.

One of the strongest speculations is that the next gen of iPad Pro models will sport stronger and faster processors. According to Chinese website MyDrivers, these processors are based on the improved 7nm manufacturing process of the Taiwan-based supplier, TSMC.

The report said that sources close to Apple's supply chain said that the A11X Bionic chip featuring eight cores will be used in the upcoming devices. Moreover, the cores will be composed of three high-performance "Monsoon" cores and five energy-efficient "Mistral" cores. Furthermore, the chip will also feature the integrated fan-out wafer level packaging, which was also present on the latest iPhone models in the market using the A11 Bionic chip, the report added.

Meanwhile, Macworld noted that Apple is looking to release a 9.7-inch iPad next year. Moreover, the device will have a cheaper price tag that will start around the $259 range, sources from upstream suppliers said. The sources did not reveal any details on the exact release date, though they said that the device will come out sometime in the second quarter of 2018.

Since there is no solid word from Apple regarding a more affordable iPad, Macworld speculated that there is a possibility that the device will just be a tweaked version of the current iPad model. Another Macworld report also said that the next-gen iPad Pro models could possibly be announced during the WWDC event in summer of 2018.

The latest iPad Pro models on the market were first revealed during the WWDC earlier this year. If Apple wants to follow the timetable it used, it is likely that fans will get a glimpse of the new devices next summer.