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The iPhone wasn’t the only iOS device Apple planned to supersize this year. According to a report published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Apple wanted to start mass production of an iPad with a 12.9-inch display this December, but those plans have been pushed back to cope with demand for the iPhone 6 Plus.
This isn’t the first time the possibility of a larger iPad has come up. The iPad Pro, as some have dubbed it, has been discussed by suppliers since last year, and there are a lot of tidbits included in iOS 8 that imply an iPad with a larger screen is in the works.
There are references to a split-screen multitasking mode, which would be a great feature to include on a tablet with a bigger screen. Yesterday, developer Hamza Sood discovered images in the latest iOS 8.1 beta which include iPad icons at three times the normal display resolution. [company]Apple[/company] uses larger icons to maintain image fidelity on its retina displays, and the iPhone 6 Plus uses icons with similar 3x pixel sizing. The larger assets are a strong indication that Apple is at least working on an iPad with a upsized screen.
There are a couple of reasons that Apple would think the time is right for a 13-inch tablet. It makes sense as iPad apps are becoming sophisticated enough to challenge the productivity of some desktop software. Although the iPad is still wildly profitable, sales growth has stalled over the past two years. A recent enterprise deal with IBM could find business customers who want a bigger, professionally oriented iPad.
The Wall Street Journal report backs up a Bloomberg article from last week, which said the bigger iPad will be delayed until 2015, but that Apple is planning to soon launch a gold-colored iPad to match the iPhone line.
Earlier this week, Apple sent out invites to a launch event on its campus on October 16. The tagline was “it’s been too long.” It’s hard to say exactly what Apple’s planning to announce next Thursday, but it’s looking very unlikely that an iPad Plus is in the cards. We’ll be at the event and will report directly from Cupertino.