Sources in Taiwan suggest that Apple is set to axe the iPad Mini next year, as it switches its attention to a larger-screen sibling for the existing iPad Air.
While iPad Mini saw a refresh in Apple’s latest iPad revamp, the change was small – it gained a fingerprint scanner, while its other internals remained unchanged. In contrast, the iPad Air saw a major update, including gaining a new processor as well as an even more slimline form factor.
And it has previously been reported that Apple may make a bigger iPad, in order to bolster its position in the enterprise market. This would put it in competition with Microsoft’s Surface Pro line, for example, rather than mainstream Android tablets.
According to Economic Daily, contract manufacturer Foxconn will shift workers from the iPad Mini to the as-yet unannounced device.
With Apple announcing a ‘phablet’ version of its iPhone earlier this year, the gap with the smaller iPad has closed. While Apple does not break-out sales of iPad and iPad Mini separately, the tablet line has seen falling shipments, and some sources point the finger at the iPad Mini as the biggest loser.
Previous speculation suggested a 12.9-inch screen tablet called iPad Pro is in the works, which (depending on pricing and features) could come in at a not dissimilar price point to the entry-level, keyboard-equipped MacBook Air.
While the tablet would benefit in terms of having a touch screen and enhanced portability, for many productivity users a keypad is a must-have, meaning a high-quality keypad peripheral will also be needed.
And it will also see Apple’s iOS, previously targeted at smaller devices and consumer applications, pushed into the higher end – whereas Microsoft has instead opted to use a version of its Windows 8 platform rather than a stripped-down alternative for Surface Pro.