WWDC iPad Hardware Guesses

In this week's episode of ATP, Marco Arment was discussing theories on potential iPad hardware releases at WWDC. His suggestion was Apple could refresh the 9.7" iPad Pro, add a 10.5" iPad Pro to the lineup, and possibly discontinue the 12.9" iPad Pro. In doing so, he thought Apple would drop the price of the 9.7" Pro by $100 so there would be a smaller gap between the Pro line and the 5th generation iPad released this spring.

This doesn't sit right with me.

The 9.7" and 10.5" are too close together in size to warrant having both. With Apple dropping the Air line of iPads and adding the 5th Gen, they have simplified their iPad line, targeting the marketing of each iPad to make it easier for consumers to decide which iPad to purchase. Keeping 2 "smaller" iPad Pros and removing the larger does not keep the line simple.

I agree with Marco that Apple needs to do something to make the smaller iPad Pro warrant an almost $300 premium over the iPad 5th Gen. Being thinner with a nicer screen, accessories, and a slightly faster processor is not enough to drive customers to pay a higher price.

But add a larger screen to that (but not one as large as the 12.9" iPad), and now there really is a significant difference between iPad and iPad Pro.

This lines up with Apple's strategy with the Mac as well. The MacBook is 12", and MacBook Pros have a 13" and 15" model.

So my prediction for Apple's iPad lineup post-WWDC is:

  • Discontinuation of the iPad Mini
  • 5th Generation iPad - $329
  • 10.5" iPad Pro - $600
  • 12.9" iPad Pro (Updated w/ new processor and TrueTone Display) - $799

Of course, these will be the starting prices, and models can go up in price from there based on storage and LTE.

If this 10.5" iPad is announced, I plan on purchasing one. If after 2 weeks of use, I determine it can be my primary computing device (i.e., it can replace both of my current iPad Pros), I'll sell my other iPads. If not, I'll return it and keep my current setup.

Whatever happens, I'm excited for Monday.