A Persistent Rumor: Today, sources in Taiwan's supply chain are claiming that Apple has two 12.9-inch tablet prototypes in development. The first one is a classic 2-in-1 device and the other is a regular tablet. Whether Apple will release either of these designs in the future is unknown at this time.
According to the report, Apple's rumored 12-inch tablet, which is said to be scheduled for release in 2015, may become their first device to feature an operating system that integrates Mac OS and iOS. We've noted in the past that Apple conveniently has a classic patent pending 2-in-1 design on record, should market conditions demand such an entry.
While this ongoing rumor is interesting, Apple's CEO Tim Cook has knocked such a hybrid design in the past. Then again, he knocked the idea of a watch in the past at the D11 conference with Walt Mossberg and they ended up with Apple Watch. So you can't take what Apple says publicly to the bank because they've contradicted themselves too many times.
Perhaps the fine line in the sand here is that Apple may create a hybrid hardware solution but not necessarily a device with hybrid software. With software like MS Office now on iOS, the need for two operating systems on one device for the masses may not be needed.
As for the standalone 12 inch tablet noted in the rumor, Apple could always introduce a smart cover with a built-in keyboard. In fact, once the iPad Air goes beyond its standard size, then adding a keyboard and/or a smart pen could come into play very easily so that the larger iPad could have a more distinct focus on students and business professionals that still want a keyboard to be productive.