Remember when gadgets used to keep getting smaller? Now they keep getting bigger. Apple (AAPL) is rumored to be bringing out a larger iPhone this fall, and now our colleagues at Bloomberg News are reporting that a larger iPad is in the pipeline, too.
The iPad Jumbo (*not its real name) will measure 12.9 inches diagonally, compared with the 9.7-inch standard iPad and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. The new slates could be released in the first quarter of next year. Apple declined to comment on the report.
A potential larger-size iPad says a lot about the current state of the tablet market as well as modern-day Apple. The company introduced only one version of the device in 2010, with plenty of conviction that it was properly sized to address an array of market needs. The 7-inch Kindle Fire, released in late 2011, along with similar tablets from BlackBerry (BBRY) and Google (GOOG), showed there was an additional demand for smaller, lighter devices. Apple followed with the iPad Mini.
In 2013, Microsoft (MSFT) introduced the large-screen Surface with an attached keyboard. The device hasn’t exactly flown off store shelves, but it has helped open a market for tablets in work settings like hospitals and schools. If Apple wants to crack the enterprise market—as its recent tie-up with IBM demonstrates—it needs to play in this end of the market as well.
Tablet sales are reportedly slowing, at the same time that people keep finding new uses for the devices. They play games, watch movies, take work notes, conduct videoconferences—the use cases are endless. When all is said and done, the iPad might come in as many sizes and shapes as shoes.