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New iPad Pro Rumors Circulate – Do You Think They’re Any More Likely to Be True Than the Last Ones?

What with the iWatch a known quantity and iOS 9 no longer the source of huge surprises, the tech blogosphere has turned to obsessing over Apple’s next product, the rumored iPad Pro.

There’s a story going around today from the tea leaf readers at Digitimes. Their "sources" say that Apple is placing a smaller than expected (what does that even mean) orders for components:

Apple’s upstream supply chain is expected to start supplying components for the upcoming 12.9-inch iPad in late-September and the device is expected to become available in the market after mid-November; however, Apple is rather cautious about placing related orders and the initial shipment volume is much lower than most market watchers' expectations, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

This being Digitimes, I don’t expect this rumor to come true other than by accident.

But I do think there is a good argument in favor of the iPad Pro.

The new larger iPad would be a good way for Apple to boost its sagging tablet sales. Furthermore, we have seen a few leaks, including a shell for the iPad Pro and a schematic, that suggest that either an iPad Pro is in the works (or a lot of tricksters are all working to convince us it exists).

Perhaps the most compelling point in support of the iPad Pro are the references buried in iOS 9 that point to a new on-screen keyboard, one designed to fit a new screen resolution. 9to5Mac and other blogs reported on it last month that iOS 9’s on screen keyboard would scale to fit a screen with a resolution some multiple of 1366×1024.

It is also going to sport a number row:

ipad pro on screen keyboard

I am still not convinced we will see an iPad this fall, but I am looking forward to that new keyboard. Aren’t you?



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jjj July 13, 2015 um 11:03 am

Given the software changes it seems very likely but also shows that Apple has lost the plot.
They are doing what Microsoft has done, they are giving up on tablets and turning it into a laptop- maybe in a slightly different way ,maybe even just in software but in the end it’s the same result and it’s somewhat disturbing that their position has fundamentally changed.

The specs and the design are likely insufficient too, remains to be seen how weight and pricing are. They might make more money by adding it but that depends on price, it’s complicated since it will cannibalize ipad Air and Mac sales. Something that might end up being the only positive is that it would be another step towards getting rid of Intel chips- that means a bit more profits and flexibility for them.
Will be interesting to see how they merge the mac and ipad lines, for now it’s just about pricing but it should become more than that, the Macbook Air might be killed off soon but it’s hard to figure out how they think now since they don’t do much of that anymore.

Nate Hoffelder July 13, 2015 um 11:53 am

One concern I have is that this might fill the same netbook niche as the Macbook one. That has me waffling back and forth on whether the iPro will actually launch.

fjtorres July 13, 2015 um 1:14 pm

I think it is coming unless sanity prevails.
It will launch into the teeth of the third generation Tablet- focused version of windows and the fourth generation Surface Pro’s.
The market (corporate and educational) they want simply won’t be there.

It will sell to the faithful but, yes, it will be cannibalizing the Mac. Possibly pushing it off stage at last.

That might even be the plan.
(A bad one at that.)

Mackay Bell July 13, 2015 um 12:23 pm

"… it’s hard to figure out how they think now since they don’t do much of that anymore."

The problem for arm chair CEO’s is that the biggest and most profitable company in the world is thinking many years ahead. iPad sales are down, but still over 12 million last quarter. That’s still a nice chunk of change. There is still a question whether declining sales are simply because they have less turnover than phones, or if they are being replaced by larger iPhones or by Apple’s new slim MacBook. Regardless, Apple is positioned to continue to dominate the high end consumer computer business. (And their new deal with IBM continues their move into enterprise.)

I suspect, a larger, more expensive iPad will do very well, and might even boost sales of the smaller one. (As the much bigger iPhone 6 Plus helped boost sales of the smaller iPhone 6). Force touch and tapitic feedback may be enough of a game change to get a lot of people to finally upgrade their old iPads, and I suspect it will be featured on both the larger and smaller iPad.

Ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple it has followed a simple and logical marketing plan. Offer a cheaper consumer version (the Macbook) and a higher end expensive version (MacBook Pro) of each platform. Up till now, the iPad has been the exception. I think that was deliberate, it was so revolutionary, Jobs wanted to focus on the consumer market. Plus, it was limited by a lower powered processor, which didn’t give it real pro possibilities. Now that it is widely accepted, and has a much more powerful processor, moving into the pro market makes a lot of sense.

There is still room for laptops and tablets in the market. They still have different enough experiences and different people have preferences. (Likewise, not everyone will abandon their iPad for a big iPhone). Apple is smart to cover them both.

As far as doing what Microsoft has done, basically screwing up everywhere they can, Apple isn’t playing that game. I still think we are going to see a massive abandonment of the windows platform in the next decade, and the Macintosh might become the dominant PC platform, particularly if Chrome starts to rip out the low end of the Wintel market.

Anshuman July 13, 2015 um 12:46 pm

That last bit abt Mac OS will never happen unless Apple deigns to launch Macbooks in the sub-$500 range. There is a reason why Apple for all its successes commands only abt 15% of the smartphone market. And totally absent from the low end market for mobiles.

Frank July 13, 2015 um 1:08 pm

The number row is nice to have on a keyboard. One can add that to iOS using Swiftkey, instead of using the Apple keyboard.

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