Despite Apple’s best efforts to resuscitate its sluggish iPad lineup, sales of Apple’s iconic tablet reached a 5-year low last quarter. Specifically, iPad sales during Apple’s recent September quarter checked in at 9.26 million units, marking a 6% decline year over year. In stark contrast, Apple during its September 2012 quarter, for example, sold 17 million iPads.
Regardless, Apple remains committed to the iPad and has no plans to abandon the tablet market anytime soon. On the contrary, a new research note from reputed analyst Ming Chi-Kuo reveals that Apple later this year will reveal three new iPad models.
In addition to a revamped 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a more affordably priced 9.7-inch iPad, Kuo relays that Apple will also release a brand new iPad with a 10-10.5 inch display. Interestingly enough, the new iPad will reportedly be positioned as the premium device in Apple’s soon to be refreshed iPad lineup.
Kuo’s note (obtained by MacRumors) reads in part:
We note the 12.9″ model will be the second generation of the existing 12.9″ iPad Pro, the 10-10.5″ model will be the high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design, and the 9.7″ model will be the low-priced option. The former two models will have an A10X chip manufactured by TSMC (2330 TT, NT$183.5, N), while the latter comes with an A9 chip made by Samsung LSI. Although we estimate iPad shipments in 2017 will drop again YoY to 35-37mn units, we except the decline to narrow to 10% from 2016’s roughly 20%, given that the 10-10.5″ model may see more demand from commercial/enterprises and tender markets, while the low-priced 9.7″ model may have a greater shipment contribution and likely account for 50-60% of total shipments of new iPads.
Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen reference to a brand new iPad Model. Just two months ago, an analyst report from Barclays Research claimed that Apple in March of 2017 will introduce a 10.9-inch iPad with an edge to edge display. While there is a discrepancy with respect to the size of Apple’s currently unannounced iPad, the rumored edgeless display would explain Kuo’s belief that the device will command a premium price.
Incidentally, previous reports have hinted that Apple’s 2017 iPads will feature a stationary home button a’la the iPhone 7.
If Apple does in fact release a new iPad model with a slim if not wholly non-existent bezel, it would perhaps lend even more credence to rumors that Apple’s next-gen iPhone will feature a bezel-free design with a curved OLED display.