According to a new report (via 9to5Mac) for well-sourced Apple analyst Ming-Chi Quo at KGI Securities, Apple plans to debut three new iPad’s during the first half of 2017, with a special narrow bezel iPad model.
The new models will come in 12.9”, 10-10.5” and 9.7” versions. We note the 12.9” model will be the second generation of the existing 12.9” iPad Pro, the 10-10.5” model will be the high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design, and the 9.7” model will be the low-priced option. The former two models will have an A10X chip manufactured by TSMC (2330 TT, NT$183.5, N), while the latter comes with an A9 chip made by Samsung LSI. Although we estimate iPad shipments in 2017 will drop again YoY to 35-37mn units, we except the decline to narrow to 10% from 2016’s roughly 20%, given that the 10-10.5” model may see more demand from commercial/ enterprises and tender markets, while the low-priced 9.7” model may have a greater shipment contribution and likely account for 50-60% of total shipments of new iPads.- Ming-Chi Quo
Rumors of a new 10.5-inch iPad have been around for some time now. According to Quo, this particularly model will be the “high-end” model, something that isn’t all that surprising when you think about it.
While I have no inside knowledge, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple decides to dump the Home button on this product. The iPad is perhaps the one iOS product that it would be relatively easy to get rid of and not have much of a usability issue, especially when you have the five-finger pinch that brings you back to the Home screen.
That said, even if Apple does keep the Home button, looking at the current line of iPad’s you can easily see that there’s plenty of bezel that can be removed. If I were a betting man, I would bet that this rumored 10.5-inch iPad will share a similar footprint to the current 9.7-inch iPad Air and iPad Pro.
Another interesting point Quo’s mention of the 9.7-inch being the “low end” model. The Air 2 currently starts at $399. One way Apple could spur up iPad sales is by lowering the entry level even more to perhaps $349 or even $299. Given that the iPad is unquestionably the best tablet on the market, a starting price that low could certainly draw new customers or those looking to upgrade.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple does this year with the iPad. I’ll be honest, though, I’m really hoping they pull the trigger and give the iPad the OS it deserves. We’ve gone too long with it looking like a big iPhone.