New 10″ Bezel-less iPad Rumors Pose Spring Launch

January 29, 2017 •

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Since the introduction of the iPad Pro 9.7” devices, updates to the iPad line have been scarce in the previous few years. iPad mini has not been updated in the longest, with a drought of more than two years. The iPad Air line has not seen even an incremental spec bump since the launch of iPad Air 2 in the same, approximately-two-year timeframe. While the device is advantaged by more storage, little has changed to the iPad Air 2, which is Apple’s ‘standard’ sized 9.7” device.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is claiming his supply chain sources confirm a completely new iPad for a spring-but-maybe-fall 2017 launch. The new device may include a ~10.5” screen size, with other form factor changes to accommodate.

According to Kuo’s report via MacRumors:

We expect three new iPads (12.9” iPad Pro 2, new size 10.5” iPad Pro & low-cost 9.7” iPad) to be launched in 2017, though this may not drive shipment growth amid structural headwinds; 2017 shipments to fall 10-20% YoY. If the iPad comes in a larger size, such as a 10.5” model, we believe it will be helpful to bid for tenders within the commercial and education markets. As a result, we expect Apple to launch a 10.5” iPad Pro in 2017. In addition, we estimate the 12.9” iPad Pro 2 and 10.5” iPad Pro will adopt the A10X processor, with TSMC (2330 TT, NT$177.5, N) being the sole supplier using 10nm process technology. The low-cost 9.7” model may adopt the A9X processor, which is also exclusively supplied by TSMC.

Kuo has rarely missed the mark, when claiming aggressively specific details of any previous iOS devices and has almost become the gold standard in Apple rumor leaks. While other news sources like the New York Times and Bloomberg are the likely non-official-but-official Apple leak sources, Kuo and his hardware predictions are fantastically accurate, even pegging screen resolutions in some previous iPhones.

iPad Pro edits

A bezel-less screen is a frequently requested upgrade for all iOS devices. By eliminating the margin around the screen, the device could offer a much smaller footprint, without reducing the most important piece of any device—screen size. In the case of Kuo’s rumored device, the actual iPad size will be that of the existing iPad Air 2; however, the larger screen size is accommodated by stretching the screen across the entire front of that form factor. Potentially, this could offer a true edge-to-edge experience.

Naturally, there are many complications with this type of offering, especially in a tablet size. While several Android-powered smartphones offer edge-to-edge screens or curve their front panel around the corners, such as the Samsung Galaxy Edge, Apple has yet to provide the same experience. A tablet is a two handed device. Even the iPad Mini is too large to operate with a single hand. Consequently, current iPad designs allow the user to place a finger on the front panel margin for stability during operation and this does not effect the input because the touch is not registered.

True Tone

iPad has advanced its palm-rejection technology, particularly with the advent of Apple Pencil; however, finger or non-primary touch interaction still leaves something to be desired. Therefore, if an edge-to-edge screen is launched on a future iPad, Apple will need to have very carefully considered non-intentional touch interactions on the screen’s edges.

If you are in the market for an iPad or looking to upgrade, this newly predicted device could be a great option. In addition to the edge-to-edge display, expect some features from the iPad Pro to trickle down, such as larger storage capacities, a P3 wide color gamut, and True Tone display to match ambient lighting.

Apple typically announces iPads in the first calendar quarter. So, we will only need to keep our fingers crossed for the next couple of months, in theory. Although there are competing sources claiming a fall launch is required due to supply chain complications.