New Apple iPad to be a mini version of the iPad Pro, report says, as Apple changes the naming conventions of its tablets

The new iPad is expected to launch at an event in March, along with a smaller iPhone and some Apple Watch accessories

Apple is to change the name of its main iPad line, dropping the Air and making it an iPad Pro instead.

The company currently sells three main versions of the iPad: the small Mini, the bigger Air and the very big iPad Pro. But that is set to become two as the company looks to slim down its product line.

The middle-sized iPad Air is going to become the 9.7-inch iPad, according to a report from 9to5mac. The new tablet is set to be revealed at an event in March and will receive the new name then, the report says.

The new naming convention seems to be in line with other recent Apple product launches.

The new MacBook, for instance, was expected to be called the MacBook Air, but Apple has kept that name. The iPad Pro will also work along the same lines as the MacBook Pro, which comes in two sizes that otherwise have mostly similar specifications.

The company is likely to add some of the headline features of the bigger tablet, according to the same report. That will include the Apple Pencil stylus and the Smart Keyboard, which plugs into connectors on the iPad Pro's bottom side.

It will also come in the same colours and options as the iPad Pro, but pricing will be more in line with the iPad Air that it will replace.

After the new tablet is introduced, Apple is set to start phasing out older iPad Mini and Air tablets, so that its line-up will stay simple.

The company is expected to unveil the new, small iPad Pro at an event on 15 March, and it could go on sale just a couple of days later.

The same event will see the launch of the smaller iPhone 5se and new accessories for the Apple Watch.

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