iPad sales may not be where Apple wants them to be, but the company is planning big things in an effort to change that. According to reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is planning a 10.5-inch iPad Pro for 2017, and a “revolutionary” iPad with an OLED display that could launch as early as 2018.
Kuo reports that the iPad Pro lineup will offer three different screen sizes next year, with a new 10.5-inch model arriving to sit in between the high-end 12.9-inch model, and the “low-cost” 9.7-inch model. It’s unclear what will happen to the 7.9-inch iPad mini, but it’s possible that Apple will discontinue it now that the iPhone Plus lineup is so popular.
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.
Even with this new model, however, Kuo warns that iPad shipments may continue to fall “amid structural headwinds.” In fact, during fiscal 2017, KGI predicts that shipments will fall 10-20 percent year-on-year.
The following year could be a much more successful one for the iPad business, however. Kuo expects Apple to make “radical” changes to the device and introduce a “revolutionary” new model with an OLED display as early as 2018.
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.
As for 2016 shipments, Kuo has cut his previous prediction of 45-50 million units to 35-40 million units due to a lack of new models before the end of the year.