Apple released only one tablet last year, the iPad Pro 9.7. Almost a year later, A new report by KGI Securities’ analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, claims Apple will be launching three new tablets in the second quarter of 2017. Apart from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and 9.7-inch iPad, we will also see one in the 10-10.5-inch form factor which is expected to come in a bezel-free design. On the sideline, it is also tipped that Apple will launch a more affordable 9.7-inch iPad that will be the “low-priced option” in the upcoming tablets for 2017 .
The new 12.9-inch and 10-10.5-inch iPad Pro are said to ship with an Apple A10X SoC – an upgraded version of the Apple A10 SoC found in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – made by TSMC. The larger, high-end iPads will sport an A10X chip, while the lower-priced iPad will come with the A9 chip. The A10X chip is a pumped-up version of the A10 chip currently powering the iPhone 7. The smaller 9.7-inch iPad model will reportedly run on an A9 chip which came along with the Cupertino giant’s iPhone 6s series of smartphones. According to the note, this variant will be manufactured by Samsung. Kuo said that the 9.7-inch model may contribute to 50-60% of total iPad shipments. Interestingly, he also predicted that iPad shipments may drop again.
Kuo says that the reason for the slowdown on the decline of shipment is due to many factors. One of the reasons being given is that there is a better product mix and a decreased exposure to the iPad mini. Secondly, there has been an improved cost structure due to an increasing number of suppliers on touch-module lamination. Apple was supposed to begin production of 10.5-inch iPad last month as per the report. This variant is expected to have the same footprint as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This essentially means that the device will cut down on screen bezels to a large extent.
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