Financial analyst Ming-Chi Kuo launched a couple of new rumors about Apple's future iPad lineup. He speculates the Cupertino company will launch three iPad models in 2017, consisting of a 12.9" iPad Pro 2, a new 10.5" iPad Pro and a "low-cost" 9.7-inch edition:
We expect three new iPads (12.9” iPad Pro 2, new size 10.5” iPad Pro & low-cost 9.7” iPad) to be launched in 2017, though this may not drive shipment growth amid structural headwinds; 2017F shipments to fall 10-20% YoY. If the iPad comes in a larger size, such as a 10.5” model, we believe it will be helpful to bid for tenders within the commercial and education markets. As a result, we expect Apple to launch a 10.5” iPad Pro in 2017. In addition, we estimate the 12.9” iPad Pro 2 and 10.5” iPad Pro will adopt the A10X processor, with TSMC (2330 TT, NT$177.5, N) being the sole supplier using 10nm process technology. The low-cost 9.7” model may adopt the A9X processor, which is also exclusively supplied by TSMC.
Looking a bit further into the future, Kuo believes the next big evolution will occur in 2018, with the introduction of iPad tablets with a flexible AMOLED screen. This technology could allow Apple to introduce radical changes to form factor design and user behavior.
Revolutionary iPad model likely to be introduced in 2018F at the earliest, with radical changes in form factor design & user behavior on adoption of flexible AMOLED panel. We believe iPad will follow in the footsteps of the iPhone by adopting AMOLED panel in 2018F at the earliest. If Apple can truly tap the potential of a flexible AMOLED panel, we believe the new iPad model will offer new selling points through radical form factor design and user behavior changes, which could benefit shipments.