Apple made a splash last year with the launch of the iPad Mini -- a smaller version of the company’s original 10-inch model aimed at capturing growing demand for 7-inch tablets.
Now the tech giant is heading in the other direction, planning to introduce a 12.9-inch iPad geared to the North American educational market, according to DigiTimes, often a source of Apple rumors stemming from Apple’s Asian supply chain.
The tech site reported the larger iPad would be rolled out in October 2014, and along with expected 12- and 13-inch tablets from Samsung, would “greatly impact” demand for ultrabooks next year.
DigiTimes also cited sources indicating Apple also plans to offer a larger iPhone that would be released in May. While the company’s Retina display has earned praise for its sharpness, Apple has come under criticism for not keeping up with the shift toward 5-inch or larger smartphone screens led by Samsung.
The popularity of so-called phablets -- smartphone-tablet hybrids -- will play a role in slowing the growth of tablets next year to 22% from 53.5% in in 2012. What seems clear is that Apple wants to cover the market when it comes to tablet and phone screens, offering a device that meets the needs of every potential customer.
It brings to mind Conan O’Brien’s spoof Apple ad last year for the “iPad Mini Mega,” with the faux tag line “Is the iPad too big but the iPad Mini too small? Don't worry; Apple has plenty of expensive options for you.” If the reports are accurate, it could be another case of life imitating art.
PCMag.com pointed out that rumors about upcoming Apple products rarely get all the details right. Word had it earlier this year, for example, the company would push back the launch of its second-generation iPad Mini with Retina technology because of supply shortages, only to have the high-res version of the device debut in October.