The rumors of a new tablet have been circulating for well over a year at this point, as have reports that Apple has put any such ideas of a bigger iPad, presumably called the iPad Pro, on the back burner. Well, the rumors are flaring up again.
Japanese blog, Macotakara, which has covered previous Apple news with some accuracy in the past, is citing sources that indicate Apple is indeed working on a tablet to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which has been enjoying much wider success than its forerunners.
Unlike previous rumors, which indicated an iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch display, the latest word is saying a 12.2-inch display, on a chassis that is as thin as the current crop of iPhone 6 smartphones. The design language may not share so much with the smaller iPad siblings, the iSight front facing camera may resemble the set up seen on a MacBook Air, and the TouchID sensor may not be inlaid in a recessed home button. The divergence with the iPad Air 2 may continue with a pair of front facing stereo speakers and dual-array microphones.
Of course, the rumors have been swinging different directions off-and-on all year, so we are taking this news with a grain of salt. However, if Apple were going to position a tablet against the Surface Pro 3, it would need to be less like an iPad Air 2, and at a minimum a change in the iOS user experience to make proper use of all that screen space, something that would appeal to the business and student clientele of the Surface and current 2-in-1 devices. The new rumors gave a nine month window in 2015 (first three quarters) for a release. By then, it is a certainty that Microsoft and Samsung will have new generations of their tablets in the stores.