A larger iPad and imminent release of an Apple iWatch have been rumored for some time. But now, there are new rumors surrounding both. Reports indicate a larger iPad could hit store shelves sometime soon, while a possible iWatch seems somewhat stalled in its tracks.
DigiTimes, a Taiwanese industry watcher that often churns technology rumors, is now claiming Apple has picked its manufacturing partner to produce a 12.9-inch iPad. DigiTimes is also reporting that there’s a bidding war among companies that want to manufacture the much-anticipated iWatch.
Quanta, a company that claims to be the largest notebook computer ODM company in the world, has reportedly staked its claim to producing the oversized iPad. Some believe it’s possible that Apple is planning a tablet-notebook style 2-in-1 device, aimed at enterprise and educational customers.
Apple experimented with different sizes of the iPad in the past, but chose to go smaller rather than larger to compete with the Kindle Fire. Apple’s iPad Mini with Retina display started selling two weeks ago. It sports a 7.9-inch display and carries the company’s own A7 chip with 64-bit class architecture .
“The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we’re excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We think customers will love both of these thin, light, powerful new iPads, and we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”
It’s not as clear whether consumers would flock to a 12.9-inch iPad. We caught up with Roger Entner, a principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his thoughts on the new rumors. He told us if Apple does produce the iPad in such a large format, it would be an enormous tablet, indeed.
“At 12.9 inches, we are moving into the area of touchscreen laptops." At that size, "you are in between the two Macbook Airs,” he said. “For a device that big, I think you would want to have a keyboard.”
What About iWatch?
So far as the iWatch, Apple may be watching the market to see how the wearables market shakes out this holiday shopping season. Although Samsung reported it shipped 800,000 Galaxy Gear smart watches since it debuted, signaling it expects healthy holiday sales, wearable technology has yet to take off in a major way.
With that in mind, Entner is not surprised that Apple seemingly isn’t in a rush to get an iWatch to market to compete with Sony, Samsung, and Pebble. As he sees it, wearables don’t have a redeeming function right now.
“It’s not about being the first one who comes out with a smart watch. It’s about being the first one who comes out with the right one,” Entner said. “It’s much better not to come out with something than to come out with [junk]. So it’s absolutely the right move. Apple should wait so they can do it right.”