The ‘iPad Maxi’ rumor: Apple reportedly readying 12.9″ iPad for 2015

Apple reportedly readying 12.9″ iPad for 2015

Remember those big iPad rumors from last year? Well, they’re back.

Apple is reportedly gearing up to release a 12.9-inch iPad early next year, according to Bloomberg. That’s a big step up from the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen, and it could be a way for Apple to kickstart slumping iPad sales.

I was pretty skeptical about the idea of a big screen iPad last year — and it still seems a bit out of character for Apple — but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Apple needs to do something fresh with its tablet lineup. The iPad (including the Mini) has been Apple’s fastest growing product line ever, but investors and analysts have been concerned that slowing sales over the past few quarters could be a sign of a bigger problem.

Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the year-over-year decline in iPad sales in the company’s past two quarterly earnings calls, attributing it to inventory issues and “market softeners” in international markets. But he also didn’t seem to concerned about the iPad’s performance.

“We still feel the [tablet] category as a whole is in its early days and that there’s still significant innovation that can be brought to the iPad — and we plan on doing that,” Cook said during Apple’s last earnings call.

So who would want a bigger iPad? Businesses, for one. With its recent IBM partnership, Apple announced its intention to focus much more on enterprise customers. And you can bet there are plenty of business users who would appreciate a bigger iPad — just think about anyone working in design or construction

We now live in a world where Apple and IBM, two former PC industry rivals, are working together in a big way.

The two companies just announced a major new partnership that will see IBM pushing its apps and services on Apple’s iPhone and iPad for businesses. IBM will also sell Apple’s mobile devices to its enterprise customers.

While the partnership is surprising, it makes sense for both companies: IBM gets a foothold into valuable business customers, which are already adopting iOS devices. And Apple gets a partner who already offers plenty of enterprise-grade solutions, enabling Apple to continue focusing on the consumer market.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

As part of the arrangement, the two companies say they will develop more than 100 different solutions which will take advantage of their respective strengths. IBM will build cloud services and apps specifically meant for iOS devices, as well as offer streamlined ways for businesses to buy and manage Apple devices. Apple, meanwhile, will offer 24/7 AppleCare support catered toward enterprise customers.

We can expect to see apps geared toward specific industries, like retail and hospitality, as well as services that tap into IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities. The first apps to come out of the partnership should be available by this fall — likely coinciding with the launch of iOS 8 and the iPhone 6.



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