The next iPad, due for release in a few weeks, won't be heir of the Air line. Instead, the 9.7-inch tablet will be the latest member of the Pro family.

Going by the rumor mill, Apple is set to announce new hardware on March 15 and is expected to launch a new iPad three days later. The company was originally expected to launch the iPad Air 3, but people have told 9to5Mac a different story.

With the company struggling to coax people away from legacy iPads and Microsoft finding some success in getting consumers to replace laptops with Surface tablets, Apple, according to the report, will attempt to address both issues by dressing its next tablet up for the workplace.

The 9.7-inch device will be the younger, smaller sibling to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which was launched last fall. It's a kinship that can be compared with the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros.

Even when it was believed to be the iPad Air 3, the upcoming tablet was expected to have the same horsepower as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. So, this Pro branding may have been the company's intent all along, or maybe there was a moment of clarity when a piece of fruit bonked an Apple exec on his or her head.

Like its the larger Pro, the 9.7-inch version of the tablet is expected to run on an A9X processor and include 4 GB of RAM. The only physical distinction between the two will be their sizes.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will also support the Apple Pencil and include a Smart Connector for a Smart Keyboard. Apple is believed to be working on a more compact version of the Smart Keyboard to support the smaller Pro tablet.

Apple will debut the smaller iPad Pro during a March 15 event that has yet to be confirmed, according to reports. The company will launch the 9.7-inch tablet on March 18.

During that March 15 event, Apple is also expected to debut the iPhone 5se. That device will be a return to form and could prove enticing for those unhappy with the the bigger form factor more recent iPhones have taken on.

The 5se will have a four-inch display but will feature the horsepower of the recent handsets and will support recent features such as Apple Pay.

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Tags: iPad Pro