The Apple rumor mill has churned out some “giant” news.
A DigiTimes report raised speculations that Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad, with sales reportedly beginning after mid-November. The most recent models, the iPad air 2 and iPad mini 3, were released in October 2014 and are 9.4 and 7.87 inches high, respectively.
CNET senior associate editor Iyaz Akhtar told CBS News the device, which he calls the iPad Pro, has been a rumored product for a long time and he expressed skepticism at the report.
Yet the rumor raises the question: Why a giant iPad?
The new device could have something to do with the June introduction of the latest Apple operating system, iOS 9, which includes multitasking support.
“There’s only one device right now that can take full advantage of iOS 9, and that’s the iPad air 2,” Akhtar said. “It seems a little strange that Apple only has one tablet that can fully take advantage of this, so a larger one could probably be more for productivity.”
Tablet sales, however, are decreasing. Although global tablet shipments surged 305 precent in 2011, they slowed to 8 precent in 2014. In 2015, there was a 6-percent year-over-year decline.
“As phones have gotten bigger and bigger, people are using their tablets a lot less,” Akhtar said. A new, larger iPad would need a “killer application” to appeal to consumers, he added.
That “killer application” may come in the form of a multitasking tablet that could pull the weight of a laptop. Microsoft tried the idea unsuccessfully with Windows 8, but Apple could make it work.
“Apple’s doing it in a really slow way of introducing more desktop features to the tablet,” Akhtar said. “So they might actually have a shot at this.”