Supply chain sources are backing up KGI’s report about the imminent unveiling of a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, according to Digitimes. Digitimes claims that shipments of the new form factor iPad are currently at approximately 500,000 units this month with that number rising to 600,000 in July.
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This ramp implies the device will be released within the next few weeks and the most likely candidate is Apple’s next keynote at the WWDC conference on June 5th. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to share many aesthetic similarities with the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro. However, Apple is apparently shrinking the surrounding bezels to make the screen about an inch larger without changing the physical chassis size.
An announcement of a new iPad at WWDC would line up with claims about iOS 11. Apple’s next-generation mobile OS is expected to feature major upgrades targeted at its tablets, making the iPad more capable and a better replacement for a laptop in a ‘post-PC’ era.
Demoing these new iOS 11 features on new iPad hardware — particularly when an update to the iPad Pro is already due — makes a lot of sense. If the 10.5-inch iPad Pro ships in June, then it would almost certainly be running iOS 10.3.x rather than iOS 11. However, customers would know that they will be able to upgrade to the new iOS 11 features for free in the fall and developers could use the beta program to run iOS 11 on the new iPads immediately.
Digitimes believes that total shipments for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro in 2017 will top 6 million units. It is also expects an update to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the fall timeframe.