Rumors of a 10.5-inch iPad have been around since last year and recently, well-informed Apple analyst, Ming Chi Kuo reported that Apple plans to introduce this “narrow bezel” iPad sometime in the first half of this year. But why?
One of the co-founders of Studio Neat, Dan Provost, took to the company’s blog to explain exactly why a 10.5-inch iPad makes complete sense, at least from a mathematical perspective.
When the original iPad Pro 12.9″ was introduced in September 2015, Phil Schiller demonstrated the reasoning for that sizing by illustrating that the width of the new iPad is the exact same dimension as the height of the 9.7″ iPad.
This has the advantage of essentially having two full height iPad apps, side by side.
Now, imagine Apple doing the exact same thing, but with the iPad mini.
What Provost is saying is that a 10.5-inch iPad would basically be like a mini version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, allowing two apps to be full-size and run side-side-by-side.
The math works out perfectly. This new 10.5″ iPad would have the exact same resolution as the 12.9″ iPad Pro (2732 x 2048), but the same pixel density of the iPad mini (326 ppi instead of 264 ppi). Crunch the numbers, do a little Pythagorean Theorem, and you end up with a screen 10.5″ diagonal (10.47″ to be precise, but none of Apple’s stated screen sizes are exact). In terms of physcial dimensions, the width of this 10.5″ screen would be exactly the same as the height of the iPad mini screen.
As I’ve speculated in the past, it wouldn’t surprise me if this new 10.5-inch iPad is the same footprint at the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro. They could even get rid of the Home button, though my gut feeling is that they might wait to do that in a year or two once the next iPhone hits, which is rumored to have no Home button.
Here’s the current 9.7-inch iPad with a 10.5-inch piece of paper on top of it.