updated 10:37 am EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Release of 12.2-inch Samsung tablets seen as cause
Apple will likely accelerate development of a larger iPad in response to Samsung's recent debut of 12.2-inch tablets, according to DigiTimes sources. A 12.9-inch iPad has been rumored for some time, and it's possible that the Samsung tablets were actually developed in response. Nevertheless, Apple may now need to have a bigger iPad to be seen as competitive. The DigiTimes sources suggest that the earliest possible date for a 12.9-inch iPad is in the end of the third quarter; in the past couple of years, Apple has released new iPads in the fourth quarter.
Apple has allegedly asked production and supplier partners to develop updated 7.9- and 9.7-inch iPads, which would make a 12.9-inch model -- sometimes nicknamed the iPad Pro --an expansion of the iPad lineup, rather than a replacement for the Air. The sources are meanwhile projecting that Apple will ship 80 to 90 million tablets in 2014, while Samsung will ship 60 to 70 million.