A report from the Taiwanese supply chain emerged overnight claiming Apple will release a 10.5-inch "education and enterprise" tablet as part of its iPad line-up next year (via DigiTimes). The 10.5-inch iPad is said to be equipped with Apple's A10X processor, also expected in next year's refreshed line-up, with production slated to begin next month.
Apple is launching the 10.5-inch iPad mainly because 10-inch and larger tablets have been popular among enterprises and the education sector in the US, the sources said. Its existing 9.7-inch iPad may be too small and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro too expensive for such procurement, the sources indicated.
A number of claims have emerged recently suggesting Apple plans to extend its iPad line-up with a new tablet dimension in the 10-inch range. Earlier this month, Barclays analysts claimed Apple will release a bezel-free 10.9-inch model alongside refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, citing its own supply chain sources, while in October Japanese website Mac Otakara said a new 10.1-inch iPad Pro would launch in early 2017.
However, today's report marks the second independent source to suggest Apple plans to introduce a 10.5-inch mid-tier iPad. In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the same thing and earmarked the same A10X processor for the tablet, suggesting there may be more substance to this particular rumor.
In addition, Kuo claimed Apple will also launch lower-price versions of the 9.7-inch iPad. Today's sources corroborate that claim also, citing Apple's apparent intention "to compete with Android models".
Shipments of the rumored 10.5-inch iPad are expected to reach two million units in the first quarter of 2017 and may reach 5 to 6 million units in the year, DigiTimes sources said.
More "revolutionary" changes to iPads, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo's earlier report.