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Posts tagged ‘iPad Pro’

23
Dec

Rumored March 2017 iPad Update in Question Due to Poor Chip Yield Rates


Sources in Apple’s supply chain are suggesting that “lower-than-expected” yield rates for the 10-nanometer manufacturing process could “disrupt the schedule” of next year’s iPad launch, previously rumored to be coming in March 2017 (via DigiTimes). Specifically, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung are said to be facing the biggest issues with their 10nm processes, and TSMC’s in turn has the potential to delay production for the A10X chips in the next-generation of iPads.

Apple typically sticks to the same manufacturing process for “X” labeled chips, and the current-generation A10 chip was crafted using the 16-nanometer process. The move to a more efficient 10nm chip in a new iPad line, while still unconfirmed, would go towards making the tablet more power efficient and able to fuel a speedier operating system experience for users.

TSMC has reportedly obtained 10nm chip orders from Apple, HiSilicon and MediaTek, with volume production set to kick off in the first quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, yield rates for TSMC’s 10nm process technology are not what the foundry expected, the sources said.

TSMC is scheduled to start making Apple’s A10X chips for the next-generation iPad series slated for launch in March 2017. Unsatisfactory yields for the foundry’s 10nm process could disrupt the schedule, the sources indicated.

Recent rumors suggest that the 2017 line of iPads will include three models: refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions, along with an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model. The new bezel-free model is said to be a thicker iPad at 7.5mm (the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro measures 6.1mm) and not include a Home Button. The specific size of the new iPad has varied in reports, including rumors that it will be 10.1 inches, 10.5 inches, and — most recently — 10.9 inches.

In the same report, DigiTimes mentioned that TSMC is also gearing up to produce A11 chips in the upcoming “iPhone 8.” According to supply chain sources, volume production for those chips is expected to begin in Q2 2017, which aligns with Apple’s annual September iPhone launch schedule.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: digitimes.com
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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23
Dec

Target Sale Marks $150 Off 9.7-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Models


Target today is having a sale on a collection of iPad models, including the most recent Wi-Fi versions of the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. For the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Target has taken off $150, marking the 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB iPad down to $449.99, $549.99, and $649.99, respectively.

Not every version of the iPad is available to ship, however. At the time of writing, for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro only the 32GB Rose Gold, 32GB Space Gray, and 32GB and 128GB Gold models are able to be added to the user’s cart to ship, with December 27 being the earliest estimated delivery date. Every other model can be picked up at a nearby Target, but stock is likely to be sparse so close to Christmas.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has received a similar markdown today, with the 32GB and 128GB editions priced at $649.99 and $749.99, respectively. Unfortunately, Target has not included the 256GB 12.9-inch model in its iPad sale. The larger-screened iPad appears to be completely out of stock for online orders, so users will have to check local stores to take advantage of the discounts.

Wi-Fi + Cellular editions for both the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are also discounted by $150 today at Target, with similar stock shortages facing the 12.9-inch tablet. Check out the rest of the iPad deals at Target.com, including sales on products like the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, Apple Deals
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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6
Dec

Apple’s Renewed Focus on iPad Left the Mac Behind This Year


When looking at the current state of the Mac lineup, the new MacBook Pro is the only model Apple has updated over the past seven-plus months. Even the latest MacBook Pro models required a 527-day wait, which was considerably longer than the average of 320 days between previous MacBook Pro refreshes.

A glance at our own MacRumors Buyer’s Guide shows the new MacBook Pro is the only Mac currently listed with a “Buy Now” status, as all other models beyond the 12-inch MacBook have not been refreshed for significant periods of time. The longest overdue is the Mac Pro, last updated 1,084 days ago.

• iMac — 420 days ago
• MacBook Air — 638 days ago
• Mac mini — 782 days ago
• Mac Pro — 1,084 days ago

The lack of updates can be at least partially attributed to Apple having to wait on chipmakers and suppliers such as Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, each of which follow their own product roadmaps, although that cannot be the only reason given Skylake processors are now readily available for update-deprived Macs.

A lack of meaningful updates to several Macs this year impacted Apple’s bottom line, as Mac revenue has declined for four consecutive quarters year-over-year. The declines have worsened each quarter, starting with a 3% drop in Q4 2015 and progressing to a 17% drop in Q3 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple investors now await the company’s first quarter earnings results to see if the new MacBook Pro models will be able to reverse that trend.

Conversely, after several down quarters, the iPad has experienced a mostly upward trajectory over the past year, thanks largely in part to the iPad Pro’s higher average selling price. Apple’s tablet revenue is now stable on a year-over-year basis, after dipping as low as -21% one year ago.

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Strategy Analytics senior analyst Eric Smith attributes the stabilizing effect to Apple’s renewed focus on iPads. He said Apple entered the 2-in-1 tablet market with the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard right in time to renew growth and capitalize on growing enterprise demand in the future.

Recognizing that Microsoft was changing the computing device market, Smith said Apple “pretty much forgot about Mac” in order to attack the 2-in-1 tablet segment with the release of iPad Pro models over the past year.

“Apple has been a master of cannibalizing its own business before other companies do so in a major way,” Smith told MacRumors. “Apple let iPad slide until it became clear that Microsoft was changing the computing device market. It refocused on iPad with the Pro series and pretty much forgot about Mac to attack the 2-in-1 segment.”

Apple’s move was rather effective, as iPad market share has stabilized at 22% over the past two years after declining for the previous four years. But it would seem it took a change in stance to get there as, in the past, Apple essentially dismissed the idea of releasing a tablet-notebook hybrid.

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During a 2012 earnings call, when asked to comment on why the MacBook Air and iPad would not eventually converge, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that combining the products would result in compromises. “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but those won’t be pleasing to the user,” he said.

By contrast, earlier this year Apple released a TV ad called “What’s a Computer?” that positions the iPad Pro as a computer. “Imagine what your computer could do if your computer was an iPad Pro,” the tagline concludes.


Likewise, Cook said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement for many people. “They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones,” he added. “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”

In the post-PC era, it is perhaps unsurprising that Apple’s attention has shifted more towards the iPhone—and by extension, the iPad. But many faithful customers are hoping Apple will eventually turn its sights back to the Mac, following what some critics believe was a disappointing MacBook Pro update amid an aging lineup of Macs.

Rumors suggest Apple will launch new iMacs in the first six months of 2017, and at least one model is said to include an option for new AMD graphics chips. The roadmap for other Macs remains less clear.

Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro
Tag: Strategy Analytics
Buyer’s Guide: iMac (Don’t Buy), Mac Pro (Don’t Buy), Mac Mini (Don’t Buy), MacBook Pro (Buy Now), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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28
Nov

Apple Planning Thicker Bezel-Free 10.9″ iPad Pro With 9.7″ Footprint and No Home Button


Apple has a nearly bezel-free 10.9-inch iPad Pro under development without a Home button, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara.

The report said the nearly bezel-free design will allow for the 10.9-inch model to have the same overall footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro. A top bezel will remain in order to provide space for the front-facing FaceTime camera, but the bottom bezel will be reduced, according to supply chain sources cited.

The much-rumored 10.9-inch model will also be marginally thicker at 7.5mm, the same depth as the original iPad Air. The current 9.7-inch iPad Pro measures 6.1mm thick. The next 12.9-inch model will also be 0.3mm thicker at 7.2mm, while a rumored 7.9-inch iPad Pro will allegedly likely have the same dimensions as the iPad mini 4.

Earlier this month, a group of Barclays analysts said Apple will launch a trio of new iPad Pro models in March, including the aforementioned bezel-free 10.9-inch model and refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions. The note likewise said the 10.9-inch model will have a 9.7-inch footprint without a Home button.

Multiple rumors have pointed towards a new iPad in the 10-inch range, but the exact screen size has varied in each report. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 10.5 inches, echoed by DigiTimes, while an earlier Mac Otakara report said 10.1 inches. Mac Otakara and Barclays now appear to agree on 10.9 inches.

Mac Otakara previously said the 10.9-inch iPad Pro will feature quad microphones, compared to the dual-microphone setup on existing iPad Pro models, and retain a 3.5mm headphone jack. More “revolutionary” changes, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: macotakara.jp
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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24
Nov

Second Source Claims Apple Will Launch 10.5-inch iPad in 2017


A report from the Taiwanese supply chain emerged overnight claiming Apple will release a 10.5-inch “education and enterprise” tablet as part of its iPad line-up next year (via DigiTimes). The 10.5-inch iPad is said to be equipped with Apple’s A10X processor, also expected in next year’s refreshed line-up, with production slated to begin next month.

Apple is launching the 10.5-inch iPad mainly because 10-inch and larger tablets have been popular among enterprises and the education sector in the US, the sources said. Its existing 9.7-inch iPad may be too small and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro too expensive for such procurement, the sources indicated.

A number of claims have emerged recently suggesting Apple plans to extend its iPad line-up with a new tablet dimension in the 10-inch range. Earlier this month, Barclays analysts claimed Apple will release a bezel-free 10.9-inch model alongside refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, citing its own supply chain sources, while in October Japanese website Mac Otakara said a new 10.1-inch iPad Pro would launch in early 2017.

However, today’s report marks the second independent source to suggest Apple plans to introduce a 10.5-inch mid-tier iPad. In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the same thing and earmarked the same A10X processor for the tablet, suggesting there may be more substance to this particular rumor.

In addition, Kuo claimed Apple will also launch lower-price versions of the 9.7-inch iPad. Today’s sources corroborate that claim also, citing Apple’s apparent intention “to compete with Android models”.

Shipments of the rumored 10.5-inch iPad are expected to reach two million units in the first quarter of 2017 and may reach 5 to 6 million units in the year, DigiTimes sources said.

More “revolutionary” changes to iPads, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo’s earlier report.

Related Roundups: iPad Air 2, iPad Pro
Buyer’s Guide: 9.7″ iPad Pro (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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11
Nov

Three New iPads Said to Launch in March, Including Bezel-Free 10.9-Inch Model


Apple will launch a trio of new iPad Pro models in March, including refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions and an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model, according to Barclays Research analysts Blayne Curtis, Christopher Hemmelgarn, Thomas O’Malley, and Jerry Zhang, citing sources within the company’s Asian supply chain.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors, the analysts said the 10.9-inch model’s borderless design will allow for it to be the same physical size as the current-generation 9.7-inch iPad Pro. That means the display itself will need to have an edge-to-edge design, possibly signaling the removal of the Home button.

Multiple rumors have claimed Apple is developing a new iPad in the 10-inch range, but the exact screen size has varied in each report. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro will launch in 2017, while Japanese website Mac Otakara said a new 10.1-inch iPad Pro will launch in early 2017.

Barclays, like Kuo, expects the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro to be a “low-cost” model alongside the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which the analysts do not believe will be refreshed alongside the larger tablets. Instead, the research note said Apple will continue to produce and sell the iPad mini 4, released in September 2015.

Mac Otakara previously said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a True Tone display like its current 9.7-inch counterpart, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.

That report said all three new iPad Pro models will gain quad microphones, compared to the current dual setup, and retain 3.5mm headphone jacks.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also said to gain the 9.7-inch model’s same 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera and True Tone flash.

More “revolutionary” changes to iPads, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo’s earlier report.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad Pro
Tag: Barclays
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Mini (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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31
Oct

iPad Pro Accounted for Less Than One-Third of Apple’s Tablet Sales Last Quarter


While the iPad Pro lineup has increased Apple’s tablet revenue based on higher price points, helping offset a lengthy slide in units sold, the latest data from market research firm IDC claims the iPad Air and iPad mini lines accounted for more than two-thirds of Apple’s tablet shipments in the fourth fiscal quarter.

Apple officially reported 9.26 million iPads sold in the quarter, representing late June to late September, but it does not break down its tablet sales by individual model. IDC did not share its methodology behind calculating iPad Pro sales specifically, but vaguely notes that it uses proprietary tools and research processes.

Despite selling some 600,000 fewer iPads compared to the year-ago quarter, Apple’s tablet revenue remained flat at just over $4.2 billion in the quarter. The reason: iPad Pros cost more. The higher ASP is important for Apple as the worldwide tablet market continued its slump last quarter.

idc-tablets-q3-calendar-2016
IDC estimates tablet shipments dropped to an estimated 43 million units in the quarter, marking a 14.7% year-over-year decline. Apple led all vendors with 21.5% market share, up slightly from 19.6% in the year-ago quarter, while Samsung trailed in second with an estimated 6.5 million shipments and 15.1% market share.

Amazon and Chinese competitors Lenovo and Huawei rounded off the top five with an estimated 3.1 million, 2.7 million, and 2.4 million tablet shipments respectively in the quarter. Amazon saw explosive 319.9% growth due to its Amazon Prime Day sale in early July that led to a huge surge in shipments of its Fire tablets.

During its recent earnings call, Apple financial chief Luca Maestri said the company is “highly successful” in the tablet market, with 82% market share of premium tablets priced above $200. Meanwhile, IDC said other vendors are “racing to the bottom” with low-cost, sub-$200 traditional and detachable 2-in-1 tablets.

“The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC.

Related Roundups: iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad Pro
Tag: IDC
Buyer’s Guide: 9.7″ iPad Pro (Caution), iPad Mini (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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3
Oct

Apple to Launch Trio of iPad Pros in Spring 2017, Including 7.9-Inch Mini Model


Apple will ship three new iPad Pro models around Spring 2017, including 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, and 10.1-inch models, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The report, citing “reliable sources,” said the 12.9-inch model will feature a True Tone display like its current 9.7-inch counterpart, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also said to gain the 9.7-inch model’s same 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera and True Tone flash.

The smaller 7.9-inch model, which will succeed the iPad mini 4, will likewise include a Smart Connector, True Tone display, four speakers, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with True Tone flash, as Apple works to standardize features across its tablet lineup, according to the report.

All three new iPad Pro models will reportedly gain quad microphones, compared to the current dual setup, and retain 3.5mm headphone jacks.

Today’s report mostly corroborates KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who in August said Apple is planning to release three new iPads in 2017. However, his research note claimed the trio of models would include a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad.

Kuo made no mention of a refreshed 7.9-inch model. It has been speculated the iPad mini could be nearing the end of its line due to Apple’s focus on its larger tablet lineup, and the belief that recent 5.5-inch iPhone “Plus” models have helped lessen demand for Apple’s smallest tablet, but today’s report suggests otherwise.

Mac Otakara does not have a perfect track record with Apple rumors, but its sources have proven accurate on multiple occasions in the past. The blog was the first to report about Apple’s controversial plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack and add new Black and Jet Black colors on iPhone 7 models.

The website also accurately leaked the iPhone 7’s naming scheme, pressure-sensitive Home button, and larger earpiece cutout. It also said the new models would ship with a Lightning-to-3.5mm audio adapter, although 3.5mm EarPods proved wrong, and quashed rumors about the inclusion of a Smart Connector.

On the flip side, the timing proved to be wrong on its report claiming new MacBook Air models with USB-C ports would be unveiled by the end of June. The latest word is a MacBook Air refresh will occur “as early as October.”

Related Roundups: iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad Pro
Tag: macotakara.jp
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Mini (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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9
Sep

A10 Fusion Chip in iPhone 7 Plus Outperforms iPad Pro’s A9X in Benchmark Tests


What appears to be a legitimate benchmark of an iPhone 7 Plus with an A10 Fusion processor has been spotted on Geekbench, and its performance scores are impressive. The A10 Fusion in the iPhone 7 Plus outperforms all existing iOS devices equipped with A9 and A9X processors, including the iPhone 6s, the iPhone SE, and the 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.

The iPhone 7 Plus received a single-core score of 3233 and a multi-core score of 5363. Comparatively, the iPhone 6s Plus averages a single-core score of 2407 and a multi-core score of 4046, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which has the highest-clocked A9X chip, has an average single-core score of 3009 and an average multi-core score of 4881.

The iPhone 7 Plus is approximately 33 percent faster than the iPhone 6s when it comes to both single and multi-core scores, and approximately 7 percent faster than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro on single-core tests and nearly 10 percent faster on multi-core tests.

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Apple’s A10 chip is running at 2.23 GHz, which is potentially under-clocked because rumors suggested it would be capable of running at 2.4 to 2.45GHz. The A9X in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro runs at 2.2GHz, while the A9 in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus runs at 1.8GHz.

In marketing materials, Apple says the A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, running two times faster than the iPhone 6 with graphics performance that’s up to three times faster. In Geekbench tests, the iPhone 7 Plus did indeed double the performance of the iPhone 6 Plus on both multi and single-core tests.

The A10 Fusion built into the iPhone 7 is a four-core processor with two high-power cores for handling system intensive tasks and two high-efficiency cores that kick in for less intensive processes to save battery life. Apple says that the iPhone 7 should offer approximately two hours more battery life than the iPhone 6s on average and the iPhone 7 Plus should offer approximately one hour of additional battery life compared to the iPhone 6s Plus.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPhone 7
Tags: Geekbench, benchmarks, A10 Fusion
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Neutral)
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8
Sep

iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 2 Updated With Improved Storage, iPad Pro Price Reduced


Apple today quietly updated its lineup of older iPads, increasing the minimum storage on the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4, and the iPad mini 2 and lowering the prices of the maximum storage tier. The iPad Pro has also been updated with new pricing options, with Apple making storage increases more affordable.

The iPad Air 2 is now available in 32 and 128GB configurations, priced at $399 and $499, respectively, for the WiFi only models. Previously, Apple offered a 16GB model for $399 and a 64GB model for $499. Cellular models continue to be priced at $130 more than WiFi models.

The iPad mini 4 is now available in 32GB and 128GB configurations at the same price point as the iPad Air 2, $399 and $499. Apple previously sold a 16GB iPad mini 4 for $399, a 64GB model for $499, and a 128GB model for $599.

The iPad mini 2 is now only available in a 32GB capacity, priced at $269. Apple has done away with the 16GB model and has dropped the price of the new 32GB model to the price the 16GB model used to be sold at.

As for the iPad Pro, Apple has dropped the prices on higher storage tiers by up to $100. Pricing on the iPad Pro is as follows:

12.9-inch
32GB – $799
128GB – $899 (was $949)
256GB – $999 (was $1099)
128GB Cellular – $1029 (was $1079)
256GB Cellular – $1129 (was $1229)

9.7-inch
32GB – $599
128GB – $699 (was $749)
256GB – $799 (was $899)
32GB Cellular – $729
128GB Cellular – $829 (was $879)
256GB Cellular – $929 (was $1029)

The new iPad pricing is available immediately on iPads purchased from the online Apple Store, the Apple Store app, and Apple’s retail locations.

Related Roundups: iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad Pro
Buyer’s Guide: 9.7″ iPad Pro (Neutral), iPad Mini (Don’t Buy), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Neutral)
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