News is continuing to spread in the industry that Apple will release a 12.85-inch (12.9-inch) iPad reportedly named the iPad Pro or iPad Plus. In an attempt to secure a market share in the high-end, large-size tablet segment, Apple is expected to release the device sometime in 2015, with most market estimations pointing toward the Fall when Apple typically holds its release events.
Leading KGI Securities analysts have stated throughout 2014 that Apple has been developing several technologies geared for a larger-size iPad, which include discussions with LG Display as well as Sharp for Retina panel technology. However, IGZO or OLED panel technologies might also be used as Apple’s main assembler Foxconn ties closer relations with Sharp while LG is slashing pricing for OLED. Samsung Display is also reportedly slashing pricing for its OLED technology in a bid to win orders from Apple but due to the two companies’ history turning sour throughout 2014 due to various patent issues that led to multiple court cases that would seem unlikely.
Additionally, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is reportedly developing new chip technology for the device while several OEM supply chain sources in Taiwan and China have reported that Foxconn is likely to be the main manufacturer. All of the sources have pointed out that such an Apple device is to be around 13 inches so the claims over a 12.9-inch device would be legitimate.
Why would Apple choose 12.85-inch?
From a panel production standpoint, makers such as LG are able to cut panels at various sizes in order to make the best of their production capacity. In LG’s case, based off its 8.5G facilities that it uses to cut most of Apple’s technology cutting in even numbers would mean a loss in panel supply, as remaining substrate material would either be too small or too specific to cut other applications with similar resolution.
From Apple’s perspective, a nearly 13-inch iPad would mean tackling a large-size tablet segment that is expected to spur in 2015 based off demand for commercial and professional applications that need larger screens. Most likely the device will have faster chip and processing technology compared to other models to fit this bill and perhaps even contain USB plugins. However, the device is expected to be even thinner than the current iPad Air so such a development may not be likely.
The question is being asked-will this be a hybrid model? As of now Apple tablets can actually connect to keyboards for typing but mice are not used as the devices are strictly touch units. Consumers can already buy one of many wireless keyboards and connect via blue-tooth to iPads and Apple wants the device to be as light and mobile is possible, so most likely the company will not add a keyboard. This would also interfere with the design.
A mouse would most likely not be used then but there are rumors that an advanced stylus would be considered. Apple enthusiasts can actually use stylists with their iPads through non-Apple products but they are thick and big, almost like using a marker. The reason being is that the stylus needs to be heavy and thick enough for the iPad’s screen to detect it as the touch technology used is a type of in-cell touch technology that differs from other makers such as Samsung. If a stylus were to be considered then industry analysts need to start considering or researching if there have been any developments with Apple’s touch supply chain. If so, and Apple is currently seeking out new suppliers with newer technologies or existing ones used in competitor products than this question may be answered.
A hybrid model would be great if it were the size of a 13-inch MacBook Pro with similar performance yet accessibility to iOS. The question that remains is whether Apple believes such a model would interfere with sales of other products if people get the best of both worlds on one device. Knowing Apple as we do, unfortunately, means that most likely consumers will not get that luxury quite yet as Apple would prefer that you have more than one of its products but time will tell.