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We’ve got the iPad, and the skinny iPad Air, and even the teeny iPad Mini. Now, Apple is reportedly adding another flavor of iOS tablet to the family with a jumbo-sized iPad measuring 12.9 inches, which will be the largest display found on an iPad yet.

According to a report from Bloomberg published early this morning, supply chains in Asia are getting ready to begin production on the new device, supposedly for a first quarter 2015 release. There aren’t many more details aside from that, but hearing that Apple is looking to expand the iPad’s screen size isn’t too surprising. It fits in with what we’ve been hearing for a while: for the last several months, we’ve heard tons of rumors and reports about Apple’s plans for the iPhone 6, with a 4.7-inch version set to come out this fall, with a larger, 5.5-inch “phablet” sized version reportedly delayed until early 2015 due to manufacturing complications.

Additionally, the race between Apple and Microsoft has started to heat up again this year. Microsoft finally managed to release a true rival to the iPad in the form of the Surface Pro 3, a thin, light, powerful tablet PC that Microsoft has positioned as a far better tool for those looking to get some work done.

If Apple releases a 12.9-inch iPad – which would be nearly an inch larger than the Surface Pro 3 – it could probably win back whatever consumers might have been swayed by Microsoft’s line of Surfaces. Now that Microsoft has released Office for iPad, the device is capable of actually helping users get work done. And even though Apple devices typically sport premium prices, there’s no question that an iPad will still end up costing a few hundred dollars less than the Surface Pro 3, which starts at $799 in its least powerful configuration.

In the meantime, Apple may have other tricks up its sleeve to make whatever new iPads it’s producing even more attractive. Earlier this month, we heard about a new, anti-reflective display that will make its way to the device line. Then there were the rumors about iOS 8 getting split-screen multitasking functionality – a feature that would certainly be appealing to those looking to use the iPad as a computer replacement.

Will we hear about this new iPad at Apple’s September event? We’ll have to wait and see…

[Source: Bloomberg]


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