Size Matters: 13-inch iPad 'Pro' release date rumor redux

Did Cupertino start their photocopiers?

Tim and Jony are is (again) said to be readying a larger iPad. A 13-inch Apple tablet is rumored to be aimed at business users and will feature split-screen multitasking. So, all in all, it's just like the similar Samsung and Microsoft products then?

But some commentators think it's a bogus plan.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers replace the toner cartridges with magical Jony-Ive-pixie-dust.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Tim Culpan, Adam Satariano, and Ian King make sure no single person gets the blame:

Apple Inc.’s suppliers are preparing to manufacture the company’s largest-ever iPad...according to people with knowledge of the matter. [It] will have a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally, said the people. ... Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment.

Sales of the tablets, which are Apple’s second-biggest product by revenue after the iPhone, have declined for two straight quarters. ... Consumers have instead gravitated to smartphones with bigger screens.

[But] much of the growth in tablets has recently come from low-end, smaller-screen models. ... Potential customers for larger-screen iPads are businesses, where the device could take on more tasks of a traditional laptop.  

Tony Bradley agrees, but with some qualifications:

A larger iPad could be a more effective tool for mobile business users, but only if Apple also addresses a few other issues. ... Smaller tablets like the iPad Mini...fill a need, but when it comes to real-world productivity, bigger is better.

First of all, the iPad is already priced at the upper end of the acceptable range. ... If a 12.9-inch iPad starts at $700 or more, it will find itself competing more with devices like a Surface Pro 3 or...MacBook Air. ... To be a true business productivity tool, a larger 12.9-inch iPad should also have a full-size keyboard. [It] will supposedly include the ability to split the screen and work with multiple apps side by side. [But it] also needs multiple user logins.  

But here's Nate Swanner, who's experiencing some measure of déjà vu:

Since it first made its debut in the rumor mill, the iPad Pro has...supposed to have made a debut earlier this year, but that never happened. Subsequent talk of the project being scrapped — then revived — breathes new life into the big tablet talk.

We find ourselves in familiar stead here.  

And you can almost hear Andrew Cunningham's eyes rolling around in their sockets:

Some rumors spring eternal. ... This rumor has been floating around for a while now, though...gleaned from disreputable sources.

Some of Apple's competitors are already making tablets around 12 inches in size. ... There's little indication that [they're] generating much consumer interest, however. ... It's far from certain that a larger model would reverse two consecutive quarters of down-to-flat iPad sales.

Remember, though, that even when rumors are correct about the product itself, they're often wrong on timing. ... Remember, though, that even when rumors are correct about the product itself, they're often wrong on timing.  

Here's the way Kevin C. Tofel sees it:

I could do my full time writing job on an iPad mini, for example, but with the smaller screen and correspondingly small keyboard, it would take longer.

A 12.9-inch iPad [is] about the same size as my 12.85-inch Chromebook Pixel [which is] far more comfortable on the eyes and fingers. ... I don’t think my use case is that unique, either. I’ve seen a number of folks that have replaced their computers with Samsung’s 12-inch Galaxy Tab Pro.  

Meanwhile, Jonny Evans lives up to his, umm, contractual obligations:

There's some who may think [it] makes no sense at all. They're wrong.

The power, graphics and application processor demands of larger tablets mean those competing devices...are severely performance constrained and have failed to set the world on fire. ... Apple knows a high performance mobile device...equipped with a larger display will attract education and enterprise customers. This is particularly true in some of the industry verticals Apple is chasing with its IBM deal. ... iPads are also consumer devices [so a] larger display has to make sense to the millions who already love their iPads but mainly use them for movies and games.

Next stop? ARM-based Macs?  

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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