As far back as May of this year we reported on the rumor of Apple considering a larger 12.9 inch iPad for the educational market with the rumor resurfacing in August and again in October. Today, DigiTimes is once again hearing rumbles in Apple's supply chain about this larger iPad. Yet the timing of the unit for Q4 2014 doesn't really make much sense if it's truly for the "educational market" which is the angle that the unit is always being framed within. Perhaps the rumors are getting confused with Samsung's intentions.
The report states that Apple's large-size tablet will be manufactured by Quanta Computer, and was originally expected to adopt either 12.9- or 13.3-inch panels, with recent rumors indicating that 12.9-inch has a better chance to be picked, the sources noted.
As for whether the large-size tablet will also adopt the same processor, performance is expected to be a major factor as the tablet is being considered as a substitute of the 11-inch MacBook Air, the sources speculated. Why would DigiTimes frame it as a substitute for the 11-inch MacBook Air? Could this be hinting at Apple's hybrid device that was revealed in a 2013 patent application?
The report went on to further note that Samsung Electronics is also planning to release a larger tablet in 2014, which could greatly impact ultrabook demand. On Friday phoneArena reported that a photo of Samsung's upcoming 12.2 inch tablet reportedly was leaked to a Korea website and that it could be shown as early as the CES tradeshow being held in Vegas in January.
The rumor of Samsung's move into this market would appear to make more sense at this juncture, as Google's November patent application for a new UI for larger tablets for education supports such a move. In addition, it was revealed last Thursday by the US Patent Office that Samsung filed for a patent relating to an e-Chalkboard for the education market.
Only time will tell if the rumored larger tablets from Apple and Samsung are actually being aimed at the same target markets or not. Though we'll say it again; the timing of a Q4 2014 tablet from Apple aimed at the educational market makes little sense at this point in time.
What's your take on this persistent rumor of a larger iPad? Is this something that you could see Apple pursuing in 2014 for the education market and/or consumer market as a hybrid unit? Or is this another Samsung set-up so that they can say that they beat Apple to another market with a larger tablet when Apple never had one in the pipeline for 2014 to begin with? Send in your comments below.