Adding the retina screen to the Mini also brought with it a small increase in the weight and thickness of the chassis. As Apple are somewhat obsessed with these details we have no doubt that the 2014 Mini will be trimmed down to at least the size of the first model.
New iPad in 2014: A larger iPad
Whereas the Mini might be the best selling iPad, rumours have persisted that Apple will take the tablet range in an entirely different direction with the introduction of a much larger device. Korea's ETNews has reported recently that Apple are testing a 12.9in iPad that it plans to release early in 2014, and the Wall Street Journal has also written about the potential larger tablet.
The reasons why Apple would release this kind of device are still unclear. Some rumours have said that it's set to take on ultrabooks and small notebooks, but this makes very little sense. The MacBook Air was pretty much responsible for the invention of the Ultrabook category, and it remains not only the gold standard, but actually one of the best priced models available.
Education and business markets are the more likely targets to utilise a larger display, with the extra screen size allowing multiple users to view designs, spreadsheets, or lessons at the same time. Perhaps the most exciting rumour is that this new tablet would become the iPad Pro. This would be more of a productivity device that harnesses the simplicity of the traditional iPad, but opens up new possibilities due to a more capacious display.
If Apple allowed an increased amount of control via a bluetooth keyboard - such as switching between apps - then it could be a potential laptop replacement for those who find the normal iPad just too limiting when it comes to real work.
Of course, price would be a key factor, but if Apple was to mark the proposed device at around £799 for a 64GB model then we think they could cause a lot of trouble for PC manufacturers. Since the release of Windows 8 there has been a succession of tablet/laptop hybrids, none of which have been particularly remarkable. Even Microsoft itself has struggled to make an impact with its Surface line of productivity tablets. How ironic would it be if Apple was the company to finally merge touch-based devices and the workplace?
Of course the iPad Pro could be just another of the many different form factors Apple designs and tests before deciding not to go into full production. The larger touchscreen might not even be an iPad at all, but instead related to a new Macbook design. It must be said, though, that if Apple could somehow manage to blend parts of the increasingly simplified UI of OSX with the touch centric world of iOS, then the iPad Pro could legitimately become a new class of device to lead us into the post-PC era for real.
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