According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s latest report, obtained by 9to5Mac, the company is working on 12.9-inch, 10-10.5-inch and 9.7-inch versions of its tablet. The first two will be powered by a new A10X chip, while the 9.7-inch device will pack a Samsung-made A9 processor. This echoes Kuo’s previous similarly worded report from last August.
That seems to indicate the arrival of the second-gen iPad Pro, as well as a high-end version of the iPad Air 3 (KGI noted that it’ll have a narrow bezel); the smallest model (the same size as the smaller current-gen iPad Pro) will likely pack lower-end hardware so as to come in a cheaper price point so as to appeal to a wider audience. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to a successor to the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4, which was released in September 2015.
Is that good for business? KGI notes that while the iPad’s year-on-year sales will drop to between 35 and 37 million units this year, the decline will be about half that of the drop we saw in 2016; Apple will also likely be able to increase its average selling price and bring production costs down.
However, Apple hasn’t done much in recent times to improve its software and make iPads more compelling to consumers. It’s likely that this, coupled with the lower cost and wider range of Android-based tablets (which accounted for 65 percent of all tablets sold worldwide in Q2 2016), could see the company struggle to maintain its share of the market in the coming year.
Plus, there are other interesting devices to consider for those who want a powerful device for productivity, like 2-in-1 Windows laptops. Dell’s new XPS 13 delighted our own Napier Lopez, and there are similar convertibles from HP, Lenovo and Acer that are worth checking out in the new year.
It’ll be interesting to see if these predictions come true over the next few months, and if Apple can continue stay on top of the tablet game in 2017. Perhaps the company should also work on its nomenclature for its iPad lineup this year too.