Talking tech since 2003

If you’re an Apple adherent, you’ve probably got the deliriously glorious iPad Air in your hands right now, and you’re tapping away, blissful in the security that you’ve got the newest, jammiest iPad around. But reports out of China point to yet another iPad—a bigger, flashier one—being tested in Foxconn factories right now, estimated for a 2014 release.

Basically, you should just throw your iPad Air in the garbage now.

Okay, I’m kidding, but the report is no joke: a post on Apple Insider points the way back to Chinese site PadNews, which says that the newer, larger tablet would have “a display diagonal of either 11.4 or 12.9 inches,” and could be unveiled as soon as March of next year.

This likely confirms the suspicions of our own Jeff Weisbein, who not-too-long-ago speculated that the renaming of the iPad to the iPad Air signaled a coming iPad Pro of sorts. While it remains to be seen what name Apple decides to go with for this mythical beast of a tablet, “Pro” would certainly be in-keeping with its branding strategy for laptops. The Macbook became the Macbook Air, while the Pro stayed Pro. Branding the iPad with the “Air” subtitle sends a pretty clear message—this is the sleek version. When they slap “Pro” at the end of the new iPad’s name, this will tell consumers that it’ll be beefier and meant for power-users.

Does this strategy seem at all influenced by the one being employed by Microsoft with its Surface product line? Microsoft has the RT-powered Surface and the Pro which sports full Windows 8. It’s possible that this is being done in reaction to that differentiation…but probably not. Chances are good this was all in the works long before Microsoft unveiled the Surface last summer.

But you never know. It’ll become clearer whenever this new iPad shows up during an Apple event. If it runs the Mavericks OS, then we’ll know that it’s definitely taking a page from Microsoft’s book. The only difference is that Apple will probably do a better job of getting people to buy in to a fully functional tablet computer than Microsoft could.

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