14 March 2017Digitimes:
Apple has moved ahead the production for its planned new 10.5-inch iPad to March instead of an earlier timetable set for May-June and is expected to unveil the new iPad at a product event to be held in early April to mark the inauguration of Apple’s new headquarters in California, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
The 10.5-inch iPad will target education and business sectors, and together with an upgrade 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the two models will be Apple’s mainstream products for the mid-tier to high-end tablet market in 2017, said the sources.
Digitimes doesn’t have insight into Apple’s marketing plans so the line about Apple holding an event to mark the ‘inauguration’ of Apple Park should simply be ignored, but I tend to believe the rest of the report. After all, Digitimes isn’t the only source here: KGI said Apple would debut three new iPads in early 2017 back in August.
The 10.5 inch iPad probably shouldn’t be thought of as a whole new addition to the lineup, I see it as the continuation of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro line. The major design change will be the introduction of an edge-to-edge display, which allows it to feature a larger 10.5 inch screen in a chassis that is the same physical size as the current 9.7 inch iPads. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 10.5 inch iPad keeps the same 2048×1536 resolution; the bezel-less appearance serves an aesthetic purpose more than a functional one.
I was surprised that Digitimes says the 10.5 inch and 12.9 inch models will target business and education; I think it’s well established that schools’ budget means they tend to look for the cheapest offerings in the category. It seems like they would opt for the revved 9.7 inch iPad, expected to debut at lower price points to capture customers with more price-sensitive wallets.