According to an industry analyst Apple is planning to launch at least three models of the iPad which are expected in the second quarter of this year.
The upcoming iPads differ from each other in terms of screen size: 9.7in, 10in to 10.5in and 12.9in. Out of these, the 12.9in model is an upgrade over the existing 12.9in iPad Pro. The 10-10.5in model is expected to be for the high-end segment featuring a narrow bezel design. The 9.7in iPad, on the other hand, would be a budget model.
As for processing power, the 12.9in and 10-10.5in models would use the A10X chip, expected to be an upgraded version of the A10 chip that powers the iPhone 7. The A10X chip would be manufactured by TSMC. The smaller model will use the A9 chip which powers the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
Like always, the latest details about the iPads come from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a release note issued to investors, a copy of which has been obtained and shared by 9to5Mac.
Kuo further estimates that iPad shipment in 2017 will drop year-over-year to 35-37 million units, although the decline is expected to narrow to 10% from last year's 20%. The second model, with the 10-10.5in screen, might see more demand in the commercial and enterprise segment. The low-end iPad with the 9.7in screen is likely to account for 50 to 60% of total shipments of the new iPad lineup.
Kuo's note does not mention anything about the iPad mini, which was refreshed in September last year, after which Apple has been focusing on the Pro lineup that comes with Apple Pencil support and magnetic smart connector. Folks at Apple Insider believe the company could bring out an updated version sometime later this year.
Earlier, it was suggested that the iPad mini 4 would be the last update to the miniseries ever and Apple was planning to kill the smaller iPad variant.