APPLE is planning to launch a 12-inch version of its market-leading tablet called the iPad Pro, according to analyst predictions and leaks from within its supply chain
The super-sized model is expected in October, according to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese technology new site. Its report quotes sources at companies within the Apple supply chain that make parts for its products.
"Apple's large-size tablet will be manufactured by Quanta Computer," the report claims. "It was originally expected to adopt either 12.9- or 13.3-inch panels, with recent rumours indicating that 12.9-inch has a better chance to be picked."
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The iPad Air, unveiled in October 2013, has a 9.7-inch screen – as have all previous iPad models.
Barry Avery, principal lecturer in Informatics and Operations at Kingston University, wrote on TheWeek.co.uk that recent changes to Apple's MacBook laptops have made them more iPad-like by reducing their weight and cost and increasing their battery life.
He predicted that Apple would merge the two product lines by producing "a larger tablet or a new design of ultra-thin laptops running iOS".
"This larger form factor with an ARM processor could have 20-30 hours battery life and run iPad/iPhone apps, but not traditional Mac OS X applications," he explained, adding that such a move would represent "a significant change" for the company.
However, Trusted Reviews suggests that the iPad Pro will not be limited to mobile apps.
"Built with a next-generation Apple A8 processor inside, the iPad Pro could launch in autumn 2014 running both iOS and Mac OS X operating systems," it suggests. "A fair few rumours of late suggest that Apple has already been experimenting with a 12-inch screen for a new product that may well launch this year."
Patrick Wang, an analyst with Evercore partners, said the new model would broaden the appeal of the iPad yet further.
"Wang predicts that Apple wouldn't just simply release a larger iPad," Apple Insider reports. "He sees the company using the additional screen real estate to create a hybrid-style device that could serve as both a tablet and a notebook, and would make the iPad lineup more appealing to business customers.
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