The iPad lineup is getting some sort of a shakeup next year, seemingly with the introduction of a new 10.5-inch model. Apple’s existing lineup of form factors comprises a 7.9-inch iPad mini, 9.7-inch iPad Air and iPad Pro, and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
The 10.5-inch would apparently slot in between those tiers targeting enterprise, education and other sectors, according to Digitimes. iPad updates are ‘due’ with all models being more than a year old by next March.
The new 10.5-inch size would be introduced alongside the other three iPad screen sizes according to the report with production to begin as soon as December. This means new iPads could be officially unveiled as soon as January although a March event is probably more likely given Apple’s typical product launch patterns.
If these comments sound familiar, it is because they mirror an August report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo said that OLED iPads wouldn’t launch until 2018, despite the new OLED iPhone coming in 2017, and that the 2017 iPad Pro updates would feature the Apple A10X CPU, a faster SoC iteration of the (already) speedy chip in the iPhone 7.
The addition of a 10.5-inch screen size is a little puzzling as it is not that different from the 9.7-inch size. Digitimes says 10-inch and larger tablets are popular with education and enterprise markets but the current mid-range iPad is slightly too small to meet those requirements. Conversely, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro offering is slightly too big and slightly too pricey.
Along with the 10.5-inch iPad, it appears that the 9.7-inch model will be pushed further downmarket with lower-priced 9.7-inch iPads in development, logically as a continuation of the iPad Air line. The fate of the 7.9-inch iPad mini remains uncertain with no news about any changes coming to the product.