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Three new iPads coming this spring, says noted Apple analyst

A new report suggests Apple will launch three new iPad models in different sizes this spring: 9.7-inches, 12.9-inches, and a middle-child that measures somewhere between 10 inches and 10.5-inches.

This prediction comes from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities via 9toMac. Kuo has been predicting Apple products based on supply chain information for years, and although he still makes mistakes, he’s more often right than wrong. Here’s a run-down of his latest forecast:

  • Three new iPad models will be launched this spring: 9.7-inch, 10-inch to 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch
  • The 12.9-inch model will be the second generation iPad Pro with an A10X chip
  • The 10-inch to 10.5-inch will be a “high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design” and A10X chip. Kuo has previously said this will be a Pro model
  • 9.7-inch iPad will be a cheaper option that uses the A9 chip first deployed in 2015 for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • Kuo estimates that iPad shipments will fall yet again in 2017 to roughly 35 million to 37 million units
  • But a bump to average selling price (ASP) due to “decreasing exposure to iPad mini” will keep revenues fairly strong

Whether or not these predictions are true, the main takeaway here is that Apple faces an increasingly difficult task differentiating its tablet line-up. As the company introduces more mobile screen sizes, it’s not clear which model is right for which consumer.

The popularity of the iPhone Plus seems to have sidelined the 7.9-inch iPad mini (last updated in 2015), but the difference between the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 is not at all obvious. Introducing a new model with a 10.5-inch screen certainly doesn’t help, and other reports have suggested that the 7.9-inch mini is getting for a refresh this year. Look forward to more news and sketchy reports on this later in the year.

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