Today, Apple is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the unveiling of its iconic iPhone, and many are eagerly anticipating its next handsets later this year. But before its new iPhones arrive, the company is expected to launch its new tablet range, and it looks like it may be preparing to shake things up a bit.
There are some who believe that a shake-up is long overdue. Its last fiscal year - which began in the 2015 holiday quarter - started with a 25% year-over-year drop in iPad sales, and during every quarter since for which it's delivered financial results since then, Apple has reported an annual decline in sales of its tablet range.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a noted analyst from KGI Securities, Apple will refresh its iPad line this year, while also adding a new model. While analysts' predictions are often patchy, Kuo's reputation in such matters speaks for itself; he accurately predicted details of the iPhone 6s ahead of its release, as well as forecasting the launch of the original iPad Pro, and that of the 4-inch iPhone SE.
Kuo says that Apple is planning to release three new iPads, most likely in the second quarter of 2017:
- A second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an A10X chip
- A new high-end iPad model with a display around 10 to 10.5 inches in size, also with an A10X chip
- A new 9.7-inch model with an A9 chip, positioned as a lower-end, more affordable tablet option
Kuo believes that the new 9.7-inch tablet could account for up to 60% of iPad shipments, but the new 10.5 inch iPad is perhaps the most interesting. He said that that model will feature a "narrow bezel design", aligning with rumors from last year that Apple was working on a new iPad with ultra-thin bezels, and with no physical home button.
However, Kuo added that he still expects iPad shipments to decline over the coming year, but added that an anticipated rise in average selling price (ASP) for each unit sold will help to offset some of the impact on Apple's quarterly and annual profits.