But even bigger changes are planned for 2018, says one analyst.
Apple is planning to further divide its iPad line by introducing a third screen size next year, according to a report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Apple added to its original 9.7-inch screen size last year when it introduced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Next year, Apple will add a 10.5-inch Pro model along side the original non-Pro 9.7-inch version, which could see its price reduced, the analyst wrote in a report on Monday. The two Pro models would come equipped with versions of Apple’s newest top-of-the-line computer chip, while the 9.7-inch model might stick with the company’s existing chip, Kuo said.
The iPad has faced declining sales for several years as current owners have been slow to upgrade to new models, and some potential buyers have opted for Apple’s larger screen iPhones introduced in 2014.
However, last quarter the dollar value of iPad sales rose for the first time in over two year—even as unit sales continued to decline—thanks to booming sales of the larger screen and higher-priced 12.9-inch Pro model.
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In 2018, Apple AAPL 1.20% could make even more significant changes to the iPad line, Kuo wrote. The “revolutionary” model could have a far different shape and sport a flexible, higher resolution screen, he said.
“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,” wrote Kuo.
KGI analyst Kuo, who is based in Taiwan, is thought to have reliable sources among Asian companies that supplier parts and services to Apple. Among his many correct predictions, he reported that last year’s iPhone would use a stronger aluminum to prevent bending and be made in a rose gold color option. In 2014, he accurately reported on updates coming for the iPhone, iPad, and iMac.