Will Apple release a 12.85-inch iPad?

More rumors are coming out of supply chains in Asia that Apple will release a 12.85-inch product rumored to be called an iPad during the second half of 2014.

Tablet supply chains makers, including touch panel and panel makers from Japan and Taiwan have all reportedly started seeing orders for the device and are beginning trial products. Makers such as Nissha will reportedly supply DITO thin-film type technology to Apple for the device while Sharp is expected to supply most of the panels in addition to LG Display.

There is debate, however, as to whether the device will be a 12.85-inch notebook with a detachable screen that runs OS X and has iPad like features, or if it will be an iPad with a detachable keyboard that will have features similar to the iPad series and run on iOS.

Traditionally speaking, in order for Apple to call the rumored device an iPad it would have to run iOS in order to take advantages of all the iOS apps. Running simply OS X meanwhile would limit the device to be regarded as a notebook, one of which that wouldn’t be that much more different than Apple’s 13-inch MacBook, so would Apple actually consider making the device as such?

Most likely not.

The rumors also stated that Apple will make the device both OS X and iOS compatible in order to capture the best of both worlds. If that were the case, users would be able to seamlessly shift between notebook and tablet functions and could possibly even make use of a wireless 3G/4G connection that would be able to be used both in the iPad and MacBook. This would make more sense as the product would provide value-added features in the market and help Apple regain strength in the notebook market.

Apple could also benefit from additional 3G/4G plans it could get its consumers to subscribe to and would be able to expand its overall ecosystem, most notably its software services as the company continues to face strong competition in the hardware segment.

The move to release the 12.85-inch iPad could indeed prove powerful for Apple’s business model, and could potentially lead the company to consider making all of its notebook products 2-in-1 devices. However, in 2014 the device is not expected to make up more than 5% of Apple’s overall iPad shipments, the rumors added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan makers are hoping to regain strength in Apple’s supply chain after losing out in 2013 to makers in Japan and Korea as a result of low yields for Retina display technology. China touch panel makers meanwhile are expected to further enter Apple’s supply chain in 2014 as they expand production capacity and improve technology but nevertheless will see limited orders from Apple.

The rumors also said that Apple will release an Ultra HD TV in 2014. Despite industry criticism stating that Apple would not benefit from releasing the device as consumers could just buy Apple TV, the rumors said that consumers would still need an Ultra HD TV to make use of the Apple TV content and therefore would be worthwhile for Apple to make the move.

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