Apple’s Next iPads May Come In a New Screen Size
Apple’s next update to its iPads may include a model with a new screen size.
Apple plans three new iPads with 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch screens, Digitimes, a publication that tracks the tech manufacturing industry, reports, citing sources said to be in Apple’s supply chain. Apple currently sells iPads with 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch screens, but a 10.5-inch version would be a first.
The sources told Digitimes that Apple may eventually discontinue the 9.7-inch version of the iPad.
Rumors over the last several months suggest Apple plans a big iPad update in 2017 that includes tablet screens from one edge of the device to the other. Additionally, Apple is said to be considering eliminating the device’s physical home button and instead create a touch-screen-based button.
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The biggest change, though, would be a 10.5-inch screen. Apple currently sells a 7.9-inch iPad Mini along with the 9.7-inch iPad Air. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro is available in 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch sizes. It’s unclear why Apple would want to add another screen size to its tablet lineup.
Historically, Apple’s release of new iPads has helped to lift sales. Investors would more than welcome such an increase this time around. Over the last several quarters, Apple’s iPad business has declined as customers increasingly turned to two-in-one hybrid computers that can work both as notebooks and tablets. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad sales have fallen while revenue is stagnating.
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During Apple’s quarter ending in September, for instance, iPad revenue was flat at $4.3 billion, but unit sales fell by 6% year-over-year to 9.3 million.
Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to shareholder concern by saying that the iPad has a long “runway” and that it would be successful over the long term.
Earlier reports had said that Apple plans to announce and potentially release new iPads by the end of March. However, the Digitimes sources say that the company plans to start manufacturing the 9.7-inch model sometime between and then, and that it would start production on the other screen sizes in the second quarter. It’s possible, the site’s sources say, that Apple won’t announce or release the new iPads until the second half of this year.
Apple did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment.