Apple Working on 'Special Version' of iPadOS 17 for Larger iPads, Starting With 14.1-inch Model Set to Launch in 2024
Apple is developing a version of iPadOS 17 that is specifically designed for larger unreleased iPad sizes, the first of which will arrive next year, claims a new rumor.
According to the Twitter account holder @analyst941, a special version of Apple's upcoming iPad software will support the more advanced capabilities of a range of bigger iPads that are in the works, beginning with a 14.1-inch iPad with an M3 Pro chip that is set for release next year.
The leaker claims that the 14.1-inch iPad model will be able to run up to two 6K displays at 60Hz via Thunderbolt 4, with iPadOS 17 including support for the capability. As @analyst941 notes, this could be achieved by daisy-chaining displays, but it could also indicate that the larger iPad features multiple Thunderbolt ports instead of just one.
A 14.1-inch iPad would be the largest iPad to date, beating the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro size. The leaker suggests that Apple could adopt a new name for the larger forthcoming device(s) to differentiate them from the current crop, such as "iPad Ultra" or iPad Studio," although this specific claim appears to be based on speculation rather than hard evidence.
Apple is believed to have been working on iPads with even larger displays since mid-2021, but rumors have been conflicted about when the first models will arrive and in what size.
Bloomberg has repeatedly discussed Apple's interest in bigger iPads, while reliable display analyst Ross Young at one stage reported that a 14.1-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2023.
However in December 2022, Young reversed his prediction and said that Apple is no longer planning to launch the new 14.1-inch form factor. Young suggested that the device was canceled entirely or significantly delayed.
Separately, in October 2022, The Information's Wayne Ma reported that Apple is developing a 16-inch iPad that it hopes to release in the fourth quarter of 2023. Despite that, larger iPad models were missing from Mark Gurman's Apple device roadmap for this year, saying that there will be no significant iPad hardware updates in 2023.
The anonymous source behind today's rumor leaked accurate information about the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island on the MacRumors Forums before the device was announced last year. However, they do not have a long-term track record with rumors yet, so there is no guarantee the latest information they shared will prove to be accurate.
Apple is expected to preview iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 keynote on June 5. For more on what to expect in the new software, click the iOS 17 tag below.