A new report by KGI Securities’ analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, claims Apple will be launching three new tablets in the second quarter of 2017. Significantly, the note to investors contains no mention of the iPad mini, leading one to believe that Apple is either killing the lineup or will have a new model to unveil later this year.
Kuo has an excellent track record for predicting Apple plans, based on supplier information. The analyst claims that the Cupertino giant will launch an updated version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, while also introducing a new iPad Pro model with a new design featuring narrow bezels and a screen size between 10 and 10.5 inches. Alongside, Apple is also tipped to launch a more affordable 9.7-inch iPad that will be the “low-priced option” in its lineup.
(Also see: New iPad Tipped to Sport Less Bezel, Larger Display, and No Home Button)
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. As for the new, low-priced 9.7-inch iPad, Apple will reportedly use the Apple A9 SoC that was used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and will be made by Samsung.
(Also see: iPad Lineup Gets Storage Bumps to Match the iPhone 7)
The analyst adds that a 10 percent drop in shipments can be expected this year, down to 35-37 million units, but that would still be less than what the company experienced in 2016 - where it saw a 20 percent fall year-on-year.
The reason for the smaller drop in shipments, Kuo claims, is that the 10-10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to see substantial demand from the enterprise demographic, while the 9.7-inch offering should see good demand - and is expected to account for 50-60 percent of the shipments. Apple can also be expected to generate good revenues from its tablet range in part due to a “a better ASP thanks to improved product mix on decreasing exposure to iPad mini will likely offset the shipment decline.”
To recall, Apple launched the 9.7-inch iPad Pro back in March last year, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 in September 2015. The company was expected to refresh its iPad lineup at its September launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, however, that did not happen.