Tablets remain a big business despite the fact that sales slumped nearly six percent year-over-year during Q1 – 47.1 million tablets were shipped in Q1 alone. Apple remained the segment leader with its popular iPads, but it witnessed a 22.9 percent year-over-year sales slump. Samsung is in second with a 19.1 percent share, and third place Lenovo is far behind with just 5.3 percent of the tablet market.
Apple has been trying for quite some time to boost flagging iPad sales over the past year including and enterprise partnership with IBM and fire sales though its retail partners like Best Buy, Target, and Staples. Apple also has another trick up its sleeve in the form of a larger, business-oriented iPad which will go toe-to-toe with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 (and subsequent Surface Pro 4).
The long-rumored iPad Pro will reportedly have a 12.9-inch display (the Surface Pro 3 features a 12.1-inch display) and will measure 305.7mm x 222.6mm x 7.2mm (L x W x H). Apple Insider has reportedly gathered some additional information on the upcoming tablet, although there is some disagreement over whether the high-end tablet will help improve Apple’s tablet fortunes.
The iPad Pro will reportedly features built-in NFC technology, but it will not be used to allow Apple Pay functionality for the tablet itself — you’d look pretty silly walking up to a cash register with an iPad Pro in hand as your method of payment. Instead, the iPad Pro will be capable of “[serving] as a payment receiving terminal for Apple Pay.”
Another feature said to be on tap for the iPad Pro is a Bluetooth stylus with pressure-sensitive input. Funny enough, Steve Jobs said during the 2010 keynote introducing the iPad in 2010, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” Well, times have changed in the Apple world.
Also in store for the iPad Pro include Force Touch (as seen on the Apple Watch and the 12-inch MacBook’s trackpad; and reportedly also coming to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus) and a USB-C port. According to sources familiar with the device, the USB-C port would likely complement the Lightning port, which has been an iOS staple since the iPhone 5 was introduced in 2012.
Will they or won’t they? There’s simply too much information, leaked schematics, and additional details for there not to be some credence to these reports. We’ll keep our noses on the trail as the additional morsels of information are dropped on the ground, but don’t be too surprised to see the iPad Pro show up by October of this year.