By Jim Karpen on Tue, 11/19/2013
The Korea Times reported today that Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad early next year, according to "an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea." The source says that Apple's Korean supplier is already producing the display. Also, the iPad will not only be larger but will also have improved picture quality, approaching that of ultra high-definition. When Apple introduced the iPad Air last month, a number of observers suggested the name change opened the door for an 'iPad Pro," paralleling Apple's line of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The Korea Times says Apple is making the move to compete with Samsung and LG, who will also be introducing larger tablets next year. And the Sony VAIO Tap 11, with an 11.6-inch screen, is already available.
It's easy to imagine that Apple will position the device as a productivity tool, in the same way that Microsoft is positioning its Surface tablets. And there's been speculation that Apple would introduce a keyboard case similar to the one available for the Surface. Clearly the 64-bit A7 processor has the power to run robust business applications. Since Apple feels that tablets are replacing PCs for many purposes, it would make sense for them to go after this niche.
On the other hand, Apple's expanding line is a bit out of character. They've long kept their product line very focused. Indeed, research shows that consumers tend to spend more when they have fewer choices. Give them too many options, and they get confused. Samsung's shotgun approach is the opposite of Apple's. Their strategy appears to be to offer just about every size you can think of, as well as an array of other gadgets, in the hope that some of them will become popular. Also, they may feel that different people have different needs, and their goal is to fill every possible niche.
One thing's for sure: we're going to keep seeing more and more gadgets, especially wearable devices. One article I read talked about the trend from early computing, when computers were monstrosities that were locked away, to personal computers in the home, to devices that one carries, to computers that one wears. The trend is toward increasing intimacy. Perhaps ultimately, the computers will be implanted in us.