According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities, Apple is planning on launching three new iPad Pro devices in 2017: a 9.7-inch tablet, a 12.9-inch tablet, and a brand new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, too.
The 10.5-inch device could be exactly what iPad Pro owners need, offering portability and a decent amount of screen real estate.
Kuo argues (via MacRumors) that Apple will release a second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and a “low cost” 9.7-ich iPad Pro. In his note, the analyst explained:
We expect three new iPads (12.9” iPad Pro 2, new size 10.5” iPad Pro & low-cost 9.7” iPad) to be launched in 2017, though this may not drive shipment growth amid structural headwinds; 2017F shipments to fall 10-20% YoY. If the iPad comes in a larger size, such as a 10.5” model, we believe it will be helpful to bid for tenders within the commercial and education markets. As a result, we expect Apple to launch a 10.5” iPad Pro in 2017.
Kuo added that he's expecting Apple to use a new, faster A10X processor to power the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the same A9X processor to power the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. In fact, there's no mention from Kuo as to whether Apple will make any changes at all to its 9.7-inch “pro” tablet; it could be the device remains the same, and the only thing that changes in 2017 is the price.
However, Kuo goes on to argue that 2018 is going to be an even bigger year for Apple's iPad. Because, according to Kuo, a “revolutionary” iPad model is expected for 2018, bringing a flexible AMOLED display panel, a new “radical form factor design,” and new “user behaviour changes,” all of which could benefit shipments.
Ming-Chi Kuo does expect iPad shipments to continue to decline, but he is optimistic about Apple's plans. The rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro could, for instance, work really well for users looking to strike the balance between portability and functionality – something many 12.9-inch iPad Pro users have struggled with. Though excellent, the larger device can't fully replace a Mac, leaving some users in the awkward position of lugging a large 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a MacBook around with them when it comes to getting work done while on the go.
The smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, on the other hand, feels a little cramped when it comes to split-screen multitasking, though it is wonderfully portable. Apple's 10.5-inch device, then, might be the perfect addition to its iPad Pro line, and it's something I'd love to see.
Of course, we'll keep you posted with further information as we receive it, so check back with us.