iPad Pro Photo

An image of an aluminium backplate for what looks like the rumoured, larger, iPad Prohas . Although details are unclear, not to mention incredibly sketchy, this looks like an aluminium mockup dummy unit, not an actual iPad part. The image was first spotted by NowhereElse.fr.

iPad Pro

Unfortunately, the image does not show much more than an increased physical size (implying a larger display), as shown by the relative size of the Apple logo and camera hole. A cutout for the rear camera can be seen in the top-left corner, as is standard with current iPads. We should note that this would be very easily faked, so the validity of the picture is very much up in the air.

Rumours of an iPad Pro have been swirling for a while, although the news has died down in recent months. Most notably, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was testing iPads with significantly larger screens in July 2013. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reiterated that the 12.9 inch iPad was still in the pipeline, as part of KGI Research’s predictions for the rest of the year. Kuo said the big iPad is unlikely to come out in 2014, however.

The concept of an iPad Pro still seems comical to think about, but this latest image from Weibo only adds fuel to the fire that it might actually be a real thing. 9to5Mac has previously reported that Apple is working on a two-apps-at-one-time mode for the iPad, which would synergize well with a larger-screened iPad device.

Apple Updates Most Affordable 9.7-inch iPad

Apple® today announced iPad® with Retina® display replaces iPad 2 as the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The fourth generation iPad features the amazing 9.7-inch Retina display, the Apple-designed A6X chip, ultrafast Wi-Fi, a 5MP iSight® camera which also captures 1080p HD video, a FaceTime® HD camera, and support for LTE carriers worldwide,¹ all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.²  iPad with Retina display comes with iOS 7, featuring hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop®, enhanced Photos, Safari®, Siri® and iTunes Radio?.³

“Now for $399 customers can get iPad with a stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, fast A6X chip, and 5MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The iPad line sets the gold-standard in mobile computing and all iPads have access to the largest and best ecosystem of more than 500,000 iPad optimized apps from the App Store.”

iPad customers have access to the revolutionary App Store?, which offers more than one million apps to iPhone®, iPad and iPod touch® users in 155 countries around the world, and more than 500,000 apps are designed specifically for iPad. More than 65 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, which offers customers an incredible range of apps in 24 categories, including newspapers and magazines in Newsstand, games and entertainment, kids, education, business, news, sports, health and fitness and travel. The iLife® suite of creative apps, including iPhoto®, iMovie® and GarageBand®, and the iWork® suite of productivity apps, including Pages®, Numbers® and Keynote® are essential to the Apple experience and are now free, so more iPad users have access to these great apps that are optimized to support 64-bit technology and include hundreds of new features.

Pricing & Availability
iPad with Retina display models in black or white are available for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model for either AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. Smart Cover® and Smart Case for iPad with Retina display are available in dark gray for $39 (US) and $49 (US) respectively through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Authorized Apple Resellers. iPad Air™ with Wi-Fi models are available in silver or space gray for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model and $799 (US) for the 128GB model. iPad Air with Wi-Fi + Cellular are available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model, $829 (US) for the 64GB model and $929 (US) for the 128GB model.

iPad mini™ with Retina display Wi-Fi models are available in silver or space gray for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) for the 16GB model, $499 (US) for the 32GB model, $599 (US) for the 64GB model and $699 (US) for the 128GB model. iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of $529 (US) for the 16GB model, $629 (US) for the 32GB model, $729 (US) for the 64GB model and $829 (US) for the 128GB model. Additionally, the original iPad mini is offered at $299 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $429 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model for either AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile or Verizon.

¹LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.
²Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
³iTunes Radio is available with iOS 7 in the US and Australia.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

‘iPad Pro’ Plans Reportedly on Hold

Apple has “shelved” its plans to produce a larger-sized tablet, according to a report fromDigitimes. Nicknamed the “iPad Pro”, the 12.9-inch tablet was rumored to be under development with a launch date possible early next year.

Apple’s alleged move comes as these larger tablets face hurdles because the form factors are not compatible with the existing ecosystems, forcing manufacturers to scale back on their plans, claims Digitimes.

However, most of the large-size tablet projects face difficulties because of lack of support from related platform developers and ecosystems. Apple has also been said to shelved its large-size tablet project.

iPad Pro

Mockup of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air

It is unclear whether Apple having “shelved” the iPad Pro is a permanent move or if the company is simply taking a wait-and-see attitude with the project for the time being.

Rumors of the iPad Pro first surfaced last May with a claimed early 2014 launch timeframe, but while a number of other sources have weighed in with their own claims about the device including word that production on the device’s display had already begun, targets for the device’s launch have slipped over time. Most recently, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has frequently offered accurate information on Apple’s product plans, suggested last month that while the iPad Pro remained under development, its launch would likely not come this year.

As rumors of a larger iPad gained steam throughout the latter half of 2013, Samsung moved to introduce its own product with the launch of a 12.2-inch tablet early this year.

Digitimes has a mixed track record with its reporting, frequently obtaining accurate information from within Apple’s supply chain, but on occasion seeming to misinterpret that information.

Video Shows ‘iPad Pro’ Running a Full Version of OS X

A concept video of a 13-inch “iPad Pro” running a full version of OS X has been posted by Italian consulting company SET Solution (via Funky Space Monkey). The iPad in the video is depicted as having a large form factor with very thin bezels, and is shown displaying OS X Mountain Lion with touch controls. The video also shows off the ability to easily connect an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse to the iPad, enabling a full desktop-like environment.

The possibility of Apple combining OS X and iOS into one unified platform has been a popular topic of discussion recently, as both have begun to share a common sense of design principles. However, an interview with Apple executives Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi inMacworld last month revealed that the company sees the combination iOS and OS X as a “non-goal”, with the former saying that the effort would be a “waste of energy” and the latter saying that Apple is focused on building the best products for unique purposes.

Despite this public dismissal, J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz predicted earlier this month that Apple is indeed working on a platform that combines OS X and iOS, which is termed as “iAnywhere.” Specifically, the analyst states that the combo operating system would work in tandem with an iOS device docked to a secondary display, running as a full-blown computer. Various other companies have experimented with dual operating systems and other hybrid solutions in the past, but mostly to no acclaim from the general public.

Overall, it is unlikely that Apple will debut a tablet running a full version of OS X as seen in the video or a combo operating system anytime soon. However, recent reports do point to Apple releasing a 12.9-inch iPad running a next-generation version of iOS sometime in the future, with a launch projected for late this year or early next year.

Apple Winding Down iPad 2 Production After Three-Year Run

Apple is winding down production of the iPad 2 as customer interest in the legacy device dwindles, according to a report from AppleInsider. First introduced in early 2011, the iPad 2 has remained in Apple’s product lineup as a lower-price option even as newer iPad models have been discontinued.

According to people familiar with Apple’s plans, the company has made the decision to ramp down iPad 2 production given that customers are resoundingly shifting purchases towards its more modern and capable iPads, namely the iPad mini and iPad Air.

Apple continues to sell 16 GB iPad 2 models priced at $399 for Wi-Fi only and $529 for Wi-Fi + Cellular for the time being, coming in $100 lower than corresponding iPad Air models. There is no word yet, however, on just when Apple plans to stop selling the iPad 2 as its stocks wind down.

iPad 2
The iPad 2 remained popular even up until the launch of the iPad Air, with educational institutions and other specialized markets preferring the device for a combination of its lower price and its compatibility with numerous accessories through the legacy 30-pin dock connector. But with the introduction of the dramatically thinner iPad Air and Retina display-equipped iPad mini late last year, sales of the iPad 2 dropped dramatically and the company has apparently decided that continued production is not worthwhile.

Apple Likely to Slim Down iPhone and iPad with Thinner and Lighter Backlights

As Apple continues its quest to make its iOS devices thinner and lighter, the company will take advantage of advancements in LED backlighting technology to shift to thinner components for the iPhone 6 and upcoming iPad models, according to a report fromLEDinside, a division of research firm TrendForce.

New iPhoen iPad
The report notes that a thinner design will see Apple shifting from 0.6 mm thick side-view LED backlights to 0.4 mm thick modules, but also questionably claims that the iPhone 6 will arrive in June. The iPhone 6 is generally expected to arrive in the same September-October timeframe seen in recent years.

According to sources from Apple supply chain, the iPhone 6 is likely to be released in June 2014, and will have larger monitor size of 4.7”. Industry insiders also projected the iPhone 6 will have a much lighter frame, which will lead to upgrades in LED backlight specs. In the previous generation, the iPhone used 0.6t side-view type LED, in contrast the new iPhone will probably be adopting 0.4t side-view type LED.

Apple has been rumored to be increasing display size for the iPhone 6, and whileLEDinside‘s report only mentions a 4.7-inch model, a number of other claims have included an even larger model at 5.5-5.7 inches. Larger displays will undoubtedly lead to larger device bodies, but that extra height and width could give Apple more room to spread out components and reduce device thickness from the current 7.6 mm of the iPhone 5s, and thinner backlights could aid that goal in an industry where fractions of a millimeter count.

LEDinside claims that similar changes are coming for the iPad, particularly with a rumored12-inch model. According to the report, new iPads will see their backlights shift to 0.6 mm thick modules from the current 0.8 mm components.

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

As outlined in our feature highlighting Apple’s possible product plans for 2014, a number of rumors have suggested Apple may be working on a 12.9-inch iPad model that could launch later this year. The company is allegedly accelerating development on this device in response to Samsung’s introduction of two competing 12.2-inch tablet models, with market sources cited by Digitimes claiming that Apple is now prepping the so-called “iPad Pro” for a late Q3 2014 launch at the earliest.

iPad Pro

The claim that Apple’s timeline is motivated by a perceived need to match Samsung’s recent introductions seems doubtful given that Apple has routinely taken its time coming to market even in the face of competitors rushing to beat Apple to its own rumored products, but at a minimum the claimed launch target offers one more data point for those trying to predict a release. Some sources have predicted a launch as soon as early this year but such a timeline seems very unlikely given the absence of part leaks and other substantiating evidence.

Earlier reports suggested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be a hybrid device that would appeal to enterprise customers looking for a machine that bridges the gap between tablet and notebook. Based on display panels currently under development in the supply chain, research firm DisplaySearch believes that the iPad Pro could ship with a 12.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 and 265 ppi.

Besides the iPad Pro, Digitimes‘ sources unsurprisingly also claim Apple is working on new 7.9-inch and 9.7-inch models to replace the current Retina iPad mini and iPad Air. These models will likely debut in Q3 2014, keeping with Apple’s current late fall release schedule for the iPad. Demand for the iPad is expected to be strong again in 2014 with the company selling between 80 and 90 million units over the course of the year.

Retina iPad Mini Shipping Estimates Improve to 1 to 3 Days in Multiple Countries Ahead of the Holidays

As the holidays approach, Apple’s Retina iPad mini supplies have begun to improve, alleviating the supply constraints the product has faced since its quiet November 12launch.

In the Online Apple Store, Retina iPad mini shipping estimates for all models and capacities, including cellular models, have decreased to 1 to 3 days in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Asia Pacific. The Retina iPad mini continues to ship within 3 to 5 days in European countries.

Retina iPad Mini
The new shipping estimates are a significant improvement from shipping estimates in late November, which slipped to 5 to 10 days for multiple weeks before improving to 3 to 5 days earlier this week.

Issues with display yields were reportedly behind Apple’s supply shortages, and as a result of the constrained supplies, Apple launched the Retina iPad mini in the middle of the night, offering the tablet solely via its online store and through Personal Pickup. It wasn’t until 10 days after launch that Apple began allowing walk-in sales of the Retina mini. Cellular models have been the most constrained, with multiple carriers experiencing back orders on cellular Retina iPad minis in November.

Just a few weeks ago, a report suggested Apple had solved its production problems, allowing it to build up some supplies for the holiday shopping season. Along with shorter shipping estimates, in-store supplies of the Retina iPad mini appear to have improved slightly as well, with several colors and capacities available for immediate pickup in quite a few Apple Stores around the country.

According to an unofficial web tracker, supplies of the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi models are widely available, while the larger 64 and 128 GB Retina iPad minis and all cellular minis remain in shorter supply.

Apple’s holiday shipping guidelines now suggest that U.S. customers order the non-engraved Retina iPad mini by December 16 for a December 24 delivery with standard shipping.