A much larger iPad is rumored to join Apple's product line-up very soon, and many fans are speculating on just how big the tech company is willing to go with it.
The iPad Air Plus, also known as the iPad Pro in some circles, is rumored to be anywhere from a 12.2-inch to a 12.9-inch tablet which may release as early as Spring of next year.
Japanese magazine Mac Fan (via Macotakara) published schematics of what some say is the new giant iPad sporting a 12.2-inch Retina HD display, an A9 processor, and will be only 7 mm thick. The official name they give it is the iPad Air Plus, although previous rumors have called it the iPad Pro. Following Apple's recent push for the 'Air' name on all of its portable products, we're siding with iPad Air Plus title for this one.
The Japanese magazine goes on to say that the new iPad will feature four speakers and ship between April and June of 2015, but KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that this larger device won't even start production until the second quarter of 2015.
Back in August, Bloomberg was one of the first publications to leak "anonymous source" details about a larger iPad, including information that it would feature a 12.9-inch screen. With Samsung's release of the 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro in February, it looks like bigger is becoming better in the realm of tablet PCs. Right now, the biggest iPad in production is only 9.7 inches.
YouTube user Canoopsy made a video that takes a look at Mac Fan's schematics and how that would translate to what's currently available in the iPhone and iPad product line. "At this point in time, it's really hard to tell what Apple could possibly be doing with an iPad that's this large," he said during the video. "It may be something used for education, or something used for the workplace, or it may even just run full OSX."
This early in the game, it's fun to speculate on what this larger iPad may bring to the table. Tech site TechnoBuffalo created an article entitled "iPad Air Plus: Top 5 Features We Want From Apple's Biggest iPad Ever" that not only acts as a wishlist, but also points to some of the main problems with previous iPads that the site hopes will be resolved with a new device.
"Rumor has it that Apple has been planning a major iOS update that will deliver real mutitasking to the iPad," the article states under the subheading 'Real Multitasking.' "This will likely deploy on the larger-screened models instead of Apple's iPad mini family, and the rumored 12.2-inch screen would be a perfect showcase for the technology."
Other items on the wishlist include an optional keyboard case, multi-user support, slim bezels, and the possibility to run both OSX Yosemite and iOS 8. "A full version of OS X Yosemite under the hood could be amazing for that sort of functionality, though this strategy would also no-doubt likely cannibalize sales of Apple's MacBook Air. It hasn't really worried about cannibalization in the past, though. Of course, one potential barrier could be that rumored A9 processor, which is designed to run iOS instead of OS X Yosemite."
One thing is for certain, Apple will not be merging the two operating systems any time soon. "We don't waste time thinking, 'But it should be one [interface].' How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?' What a waste of energy that would be," Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said in a recent Macworld interview.
So when can we expect this monster tablet? While the Mac Fun article points to Spring of 2015, others are agreeing. Korea Times, reporting from sources at a "local first-tier display supplier" is saying that we can expect the larger iPad in early 2015. China's United Daily News backs up the claim along with sources at Apple manufacturing partner, Quanta Computer.
So there you have it. A larger-than-12-inch iPad is most likely coming down the pipe early next year, but it probably won't be competition (software-wise) with the MacBook Pro or other hybrid laptops.