Echoing the sentiments of previous rumors, albeit at the expense of debunking others, a new report that surfaced over the weekend alleges that, while Apple is “on track” to release no fewer than three (3) different iPad models within the spring quarter of 2017, none of those new units, apparently, will be the next successor to Cupertino’s long-in-the-tooth iPad mini 4 — fueling speculation that the company is opting to stick to larger sizes and form factors for its iconic tablet computer this year.
It has been well over a year now since Apple released its most recent iPad mini refresh — the iPad mini 4 in September of 2015 — but, according to a research note from KGI Securities analyst, Ming Chi Kuo, Apple is not expected to update its pint-sized iPad this year. Instead, Kuo noted in his Sunday morning research note to investors, Apple is expected to unveil an update to its behemoth, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, in addition to an updated, albeit budget-priced, 9.7-inch iPad model. Strangely enough — and this is where it gets interesting — Kuo also mentioned that Apple will be unveiling an all-new iPad model, clocking in at between “10- and 10.5-inches,” which will be the first to feature a bezel-less design.
While the presence of a 10.5-inch (give or take) model in Apple’s 2017 iPad lineup would coincide just wonderfully with pervious reports, one also has to consider the purpose of having a 9.7-, a 10.5-, and a 12.9-inch iPad on the market all at the same time. Surely different people enjoy different size screens — that’s not the question here.. What seems questionable to me as is that Apple would release so many iPads with such little differentiation between them. Then again, perhaps there’s a “simply magical” side to this story that only Apple can tell, and that it plans to tell at a yet-to-be-confirmed special media event sometime between March and April. Only time will tell!
Either way, Ming Chi Kuo has a historically infallible record when it comes to making predictions about Apple’s future product plans — so until further notice, it’s suggested that we all just cling tightly to our salt granules.
While he was at it, Kuo noted that both the supposed 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a beefed-up version of the A10 SoC — dubbed the ‘A10X’ — which, manufactured by TSMC, which currently powers the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Meanwhile, Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad offering, which Kuo notes will be Apple’s new budget-minded offering, will ship boasting Apple’s 1.84 GHz A9 chip found in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Where exactly this leaves the future of the iPad mini is anyone’s guess. However, Apple had confirmed back in 2015 that the iPad mini 4 would be the last device featuring a small form factor from the company, according to AppleInsider. Boasting a triple-core, 1.5 GHz A8 SoC, 2 GB of RAM, and the comfortable 7.9-inch display, Apple’s iPad mini 4 may very well be the end-of-the-line for the smaller form factor — as Apple appears ready, willing, and able to flood the market with big screens and lots of pixels this year.
Which of Apple’s 2017 iPad models are you going to scoop up? Let us know in the comments!