updated 04:25 pm EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Next-gen iPad Air, iPad mini models already entering assembly
Apple suppliers are preparing to build a long-rumored 12.9-inch iPad, with production scheduled to start by the first quarter of 2015, sources tell Bloomberg. The unnamed sources don't have any further details on the tablet, except that Apple has been working with suppliers for a year or more to develop larger touchscreen devices. As for the iPad Air and iPad mini, a new Air is said to be in production now, while a new Mini is on the cusp. Both should ship later this year.
It's not clear what would distinguish a 12.9-inch model apart from size, but it could be a prime candidate forrumored multitasking support. In any case, it might be better suited to schools and businesses, which have more rigorous demands than the general public. Apple is also facing mild pressure from Samsung and Microsoft, each of which are now offering tablets over 10 inches -- though neither has been able to make a significant dent in the iPad's dominance of the market.
The sources separately back claims that Apple is planning to announce 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones on September 9. For several years, a running complaint about the iPhone has been its limited size. In 2012, even as rival Android devices were hitting 4.7 inches or more, the iPhone 5 grew to just four inches, and last year's 5s kept those dimensions. Apple defended its design by pointing out that it allowed people to reach every part of the screen with their thumb.