Apple is going to shake up the iPad lineup in a big way in 2017, according to securities analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo. Next year, Apple will reportedly release three new iPads, a 12.9 inch iPad Pro 2, a low cost 9.7 inch iPad and — most interestingly — a new iPad Pro with a 10.5 inch display, a new screen size for Apple’s tablet range. With a diagonal increase of just 0.8 inches over the 9.7 inch iPad, its unclear at this stage what will justify the introduction of another SKU.
I had my doubts about this rumour until I started crunching numbers. The current 9.7″ iPads have around 264 PPI, while the Minis have 326 PPI (which is the same as the 4.7″ iPhone). If you take the resolution of the 12.9″ iPad Pro of 2732 x 2048 px (it also has 264 PPI) and shrink it down to 10.5″, you get approximately 326 PPI. This could mean that the 10.5″ iPad Pro would get the slightly larger UI of the biggest iPad in the lineup, together with the better virtual keyboard and more room for two apps side by side.
I currently use the 12.9″ iPad Pro because the UI allows for more, due to its higher resolution — using two almost-full iPad 9.7″ apps side by side does make a difference. If Apple packages the experience in a smaller form factor, I’ll be standing in line on day one, waiting to get one as soon as possible.