Imagining a 13-inch iPad Pro

Imagining a 13-inch iPad Pro

Analyzing the rumors of a 13-inch iPad Pro and exploring how Apple might go about making it a reality

The minute Apple launches a new device, say the iPad Air or Retina iPad mini, rumors switch immediately to the next. In this case, a 13-inch "iPad Pro". After all, if there can be a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro, why not an iPad Air and iPad Pro? If Apple can make the iPad more portable, why not more powerful? Now, I'm not so much interested in the rumor — there will always be rumors — but in how Apple could realize such an object. Could iOS be scaled to that screen size, and what it would provide beyond the existing, 9.7-inch iPad, or the 11-inch or 13-inch MacBook Air. Previously I imagined a 4-inch iPhone, which became the iPhone 5, and a 7-inch iPad, which we later saw as the mini. Earlier this year I tried imagining a 5-inch iPhone, and... we'll see what happens with the iPhone 6. So now let's imagine a 13-inch iPad Pro...

13-inches at 2x (scaled up)

The easiest way to add a new screen size to the iPad lineup is to scale the existing one(s). That's what Apple did when it turned the iPad 2 into the iPad mini — they took the original 1024x768 9.7-inch display and shrank it down to 7.9-inches. That increased the density from 132 pixels-per-inch (ppi) to 163 ppi, so things looked sharper, but also smaller, thanks to the reduction in physical size. Apps, interfaces, text, buttons, etc., all smaller. Developers didn't have to modify their apps at all, they "just worked" on the iPad mini the same way they'd always worked on the full-sized iPad, but it did mean some found them just a little too small to comfortably interact with. (Dynamic text might go some way towards mitigating that.)

As of October 2013, both the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini have 2048x1536 @2x screens at 264 ppi and 326 ppi respectively. Since the physical sizes didn't change, all those pixels served only to make the displays clearer. Below is what trying to produce a very small circle (left) at standard @1x density (middle) and at Retina @2x density looks like.

Either way, original or @2x Retina, the result is two devices, two scales, one interface. So, could Apple simply scale the 9.7-inch screen up for a 13-inch iPad Pro the way they scaled it down for a 7.9-inch iPad mini?

Possibly, but not optimally.

A 2048x1536 screen at 13-inches would result in 198 ppi, which is below what's considered "Retina" density. Apple did launch the original iPad mini at 163 ppi standard density even though the full-sized iPad had gone Retina some 6-months prior, so the move would not be unprecedented. 198 ppi is better than 163 ppi, certainly, but nowhere nearly as good as the 264 ppi Retina iPad Air, much less the 326 ppi Retina iPad mini. Below is how the 7.9 inch Retina iPad mini (left/green) and 9.7-inch iPad Air (center/blue) screens, compare with what a theoretical iPad Pro (right/red) with the same screen resolution would look like if scaled to 13-inches (with a 44-point touch target grid superimposed).

Retina is a function of distance, so the further away something is held, the less dense it needs be. However, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is still 227 ppi and the 15-inch, 220 ppi. The standard density 11-inch MacBook Air, by contrast, is 135 ppi and the 13-inch, 128 ppi. A 13-inch iPad Pro could likely be held further way than an iPad Air - more of a lap or table device than a hand-held - but probably not further than a MacBook, which is intermediated by a keyboard.

You'd be getting a bigger screen, but you wouldn't be getting as good a display density. There'd be the same number of pixels, just stretched across more inches. Since Retina is a marketing term, a 2048x1536 iPad Pro at 198 ppi certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, but for 2014, it wouldn't be optimal.

13-inches at 3x or 4x

In order to make a Retina iPad Pro, Apple would have to once again increase the amount of pixels on the screen. @3x - 3 times the original 1024x768 - would result in a 3072x2304 screen at 298 ppi. That's better than the iPad Air's 264 ppi. @4x - 4 times the original 1024x768 and 2 times the current Retina 2048x1536 - would result in a 4096x3072 screen at 397 ppi. That's better even than the Retina iPad mini and iPhone's 326 ppi. Here's what both the raw pixel size (top) and density (bottom) looks like for the current @2x (left/green) screen, and theoretical @3x (middle/blue) and @4x (right/red) screens.

Both @3x and @4x would allow for higher density, better looking displays, the transition would still be turbulent. Here's what @1x - iPad 2, original iPad mini - interface elements would looked like scaled up to @2x - iPad Air, Retina iPad mini - and, theoretically, how they would look at @3x and @4x sizes.

But most apps have @2x graphics now, which present unique challenges @3x. Here's what @2x - iPad Air, Retina iPad mini - interface elements would look like scaled up to theoretical @3x and @4x sizes. Notice how @4x would look roughly like @2x Retina elements, but because @3x doesn't fall on the pixel grid, it would likely get anti-aliased and result in some level of blur (albeit at a tiny size).

Of course, Apple and developers made new @2x assets to support Retina displays natively, and would almost certainly do the same to support theoretical @3x or @4x assets. That would result in interface elements that, in technical terms, would knock your eyeballs back through your skull. Here's the same small sized circle at increasing densities, from @1x (left) to @4x (right).

@3x would be easier to produce, but existing apps wouldn't look as good on it. @4x would be more difficult to produce, but existing apps would look roughly the same. On both, new, upscaled apps would look fantastic. The benefit is that you're not just getting bigger, you're getting more pixels. Text can get even smaller and still look clear, photos and web pages can be zoomed far out and still look crisp. Screens can be bigger and still Retina...

All those pixels, however, won't push themselves. A standard @1 x screen include 786,432 pixels and a Retina @2x screen, 3,145,728. A theoretical @3x screen would include 7,007,888 pixels and an @4x, 12,582,912. If that sounds like a lot to power and make performant, that's because it absolutely is.

More pixels means more light and more GPU and both those things mean more battery. At 13-inches, lightness and thinness aren't the same issues they are at 7.9- or 9.7-inches, but performance absolutely is. Could an Apple A7 processor push that many pixels? Could an A7X? Could an A8?

Going to @3x, or better, going to @4x, would be costly across multiple vectors (see iPad 3 for an example of the density tax). If done well, however, it would result in a much better experience.

13 inches at 2x (adding pixels)

When Apple took the iPhone from 3.5- to 4-inches they did it not by stretching the screen to fill the additional size, they did it by adding more pixels. Granted, it was a change in aspect ratio from 3:2 to 16:9, but it still allowed for an extra row of icons or data, and widescreen games and videos. It allowed not just for more density, but more stuff.

To keep the same 264 ppi as the iPad Air, but fill a 13-inch (12.9-inch) screen, you'd need 2731x2048 pixels (as high as the current 9.7-inch iPad is wide). Both developers and Apple would have to support it, of course, just like they did for the iPhone 5 in 2012, and they'd have to do it for the foreseeable future (the 3.5-inch iPhone will go away a lot sooner than the iPad mini will - we hope).

This is how the Mac lineup works - bigger screen sizes have more pixels and can show more stuff than smaller screen sizes. But iOS isn't OS X, not in interface and not in design. Using frameworks like Auto Layout, iOS might have to become more resilient to screen size changes in the future, but for now increasing both vertical and horizontal pixels, all at once, seems overly disruptive.

13 inches at 4K

Apple, thus far, has eschewed standard screen resolutions. The iPhone isn't 1280x720 (720p), it's 1136x640. The iPad isn't 1920x1080 (1080p), it's 2048x1536. If future behavior can be predicted based on past behavior, that means the odds are against Apple making an iPad Pro at 3840x2160 (4K/UHD).

All iPads to date have had a 4:3 aspect ratio, not 16:9. Apple did change the iPhone aspect ratio from 3:2 to 16:9, so anything is possible, but they didn't do it at the same time as a change in density. They went to Retina first in 2010 with the iPhone 4, and 16:9 two years later, in 2012 with the iPhone 5.

Going to 4K - or any non-pixel multiplied and/or non-4:3 display - would result in existing apps suffering from all sorts of blurring and boxing, and a lot of work for developers. Just going to 4K wide but keeping 4:3 aspect ratio - 3840x2880 - would still have the blurring, but not the boxing.

Apple could run the numbers and decide it's the best compromise for them and for users, pain be damned. As densities get higher, pixels falling off the grid isn't as noticeable either. (The Mac's "Scaled" for "More Space" resolutions are an example of this.)

A clean break is the most painful of options, but could also be the one that provides the most runway going forward.

Bottom line

Whether or not Apple will or even should make a 13-inch iPad Pro remains to be seen. Certainly a lot of artists, designers, photographers, maybe even gamers would love as big an iPad as Apple can provide. Regardless, increasing screen size is a painful thing. If Apple does indeed go to a 5-inch iPhone or a 13-inch iPad next year or at some point in the future, they'll have to figure out the best way to handle it for them, for their customers, and for their developers. They may even have to re-visit the concept of how apps manifest on the screen. If and when they do, will it still be one step at a time? Will the iPhone's increase in size preface another increase in density? Will the iPad's increase in density preface an increase in size? Or will Apple rip the resolution bandage off all at once?

There's a lot more to it, from interface and whether or not 13-inches demand even more powerful apps, to additional input methods like digitizers or motion-aware iSight cameras, to the weight that comes with size and how the feel affects the experience. How have other manufacturers tackled larger screens, and what can be learned from their methods? If Apple really is considering a bigger iPad, these are no doubt the questions they're considering along with it. And that's the fascinating part to me.

Given the limits of technology, if Apple wants to make a 13-inch iPad Pro, how would they do it?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 101 comments. Add yours.

The Reptile says:

The issue is not how Apple could make it it is how they would make their usual margins on it. What would a Retina Display they large cost and how much more of a premium would someone pay for a larger iPad?

On the cost side, they have a chance if they can also leverage the screen in another product like the MacBook Air. That still leaves the question about the revenue side and the demand. I don't get the feeling that there are malcontents looking for a larger iPad like there are for a larger iPhone. So, the odds are this doesn't go beyond prototype.

Rene Ritchie says:

A 13-inch iPad probably caters to a super premium market of creative professionals - maybe even business professionals - who aren't as price sensitive. For them, things like sRGB support are more important than hitting price points.

I'm guessing that allows some wiggle room on the matrix.

lfeuln says:

I think it'd be a relative niche who'd want a screen that big though. Considering this is the company that axed the 17" MBP, just seems out of the ordinary for Apple. But will see. An iPad with true pressure sensitivity for drawing would be awesome and hopefully will come if there's an iPad Pro regardless of the size.

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gbanzer89 says:

By experience, Apple usually like to make their price points the same on newer devices, as they did when they released the larger iphone 5 and 5s. their usual tactic here is to do one of two things:

1) mark down the price of the alternative - meaning the newer 7 and 9 inch ipads would be made approx. $100 cheaper respectively.

2) make a second (cheaper) option (let's dub this the iPad 6C).

as for the demand of a larger ipad - you'd be pleasantly surprised. Originally, everybody said nobody would want a tablet (microsoft failed when they made one in early 1990s) but then apple made them mainstream. Originally, everybody said nobody would want a 11 inch laptop (netbook) but again this became mainstream due to it's usefulness for travelling. An 11-13 inch iPad would most certainly fill another niche, perhaps even knocking out netbooks in it's path - with a larger device there's potential for more power. Microsoft proved this with their 128GB Intel Core i5 Surface Pro. Here is where Apple for once need to play catch up and take this niche from Microsoft. A Tablet that works functionally like a Macbook Air - super portable and without restrictions.

Maybe this is just me dreaming though - I really do hope for an OS X powered larger iPad at some point, and I think the above approach would be the best way to do this!

asuperstarr says:

This would definitely replace my laptop for sure. I think it's a great idea! We have to wait and see.

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JNGold says:

Unless iOS changes to support better multitasking and multiple windows, it will be far from a laptop replacement.

snookasnoo says:

This. I like a big screen but iOS 7 needs more functionality to make me interested in a 13 inch.

abaggy says:

I would really have to get my hands on a unit before deciding. My iPad 3 Retina is good enough for now. Could a larger screen be even better? Would really have to see how it fits in my hands and what the weight would end up being.

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ShameerMulji says:

I'm sure it'll definitely weigh more than a 9.7" iPad, especially an iPad 3.

applelex says:

iPad air's 7.9 inch real estate is enough, having a larger display is great but to make an iPad pro just for that sake of a larger screen, more ppi and higher resolution makes no sense to me.. If they do make it and it runs mavericks OS or some type of watered down variant of it, and had a desktop feature like USB ports that would make sense. But a larger screen, higher resolution, better processor, better cameras and most likely fingerprint scanner is what is expected from Applel and doesn't deserve a name like iPad "Pro".. Just my opinion

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angermeans says:

I would bet my bank account that Mac OS X or some watered down version of it is not in the cards for this potential product. Windows 8 has been a disaster for MS. I just don't see apple doing this. Now with that said is there a good chance we might see a 13" version of iOS that can say run multi windowed apps? I would say that is a lot more likely than putting Mac OS X on a touch screen tablet. Either way it is interesting.

zdn1042 says:

Yep, you've raised a lot of interesting points as to how Apple can make a 13-inch iPad. First, is the processor. The monster that is the A7 might not be enough to make the experience with the iPad Pro as buttery smooth as it is with the current iPads. Hopefully, the A8X should so the trick.For the resolution, I believe 4k is the way to go. Anything lower than that is a mistake since eventually this road will end up at the 4k display resolution. Why make it harder for the developers. Another thing, I think that this will be catered to a different market given the Pro monicker. It will not be designed to be used for casual stuff in mind like the current iPads rather this will be more for businesses or professional use. Like professional photographer, digital painters, designers.

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acondax says:

I always imagine an iPad that plugs into a keyboard base and when it does so, it converts into OS X. All the GarageBand, iMovie and iWork projects convert to desktop versions and photo libraries merge into iPhoto-organized events and it's a perfect culmination of both. Information gets synced to a hard drive built into the keyboard platform base thing and added ram and processor make OS X run smooth. I realize I sound like one of those kids asking "wouldn't it be cool if Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo banded together to make one console???" But still, wouldn't it be cool? And then I realize that windows tried something like that and it failed miserably.

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stale_bread says:

You and I... We share a common dream.

Pritam Das says:

what about having a touch version of osx on the ipad pro rather than ios? :)

Rene Ritchie says:

OS X isn't touch-optimized. It's an intermediated OS that's designed for GUI based mouse/pointer computing.

Urilevy2 says:

So was windows.
I'm not saying they should, I'm saying they could.

Although they probably won't :)

Rene Ritchie says:

Windows, for the most part, still isn't. And Metro, which is, is a new thing. Desktop touch for Apple, likewise, might need to be a new thing.

(Which could already be iOS :) )

Sovereign John says:

I would seem that the next OS X after Mavericks might be designed for touch or perhaps Apple will create a new OS called OS X Touch? I think Apple must move in the direction of a detachable touch screen for the Macbook Air at the very least.

Netanel Kamel says:

If they are going to make it a bigger screen, shouldn't they let it compete with the Surface? They should add a USB port to shut these window people up!!

Becjr says:

Bigger... The only way I, as an artist, could be "satisfied" with a large iPad would be if it were the size if my average drawing medium 24"x36". I don't see how a larger iPad fits anyone's needs unless the have fingers the girth if an arm.
Larger iPads. With keyboards. Desktop performance computing with true multitasking. ...
Why doesn't Apple just make a 13" MacBook Air with a touch screen?

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WhatDidYouSayWillis says:

That makes more sense.

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Carioca32 says:

Excellent point. But in the words of Steve Jobs:

"We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work. Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical."..."it doesn't work, it's ergonomically terrible"

Although it would not be the first time Jobs got his tongue burned.

ngc says:

Completely agree with you, a 13" MacBook Air with a touch screen far more attractive than a bigger iPad, it would be a nice addition to the Mac lineup and a true competitor to all those Windows 8 laptops with touchscreens that are out there, and by competitor I mean it would crush them.

What benefits would a bigger iPad will bring? More icons on the home screen? More content to show on a webpage? I don't see any true benefit other than screen real state...

ShameerMulji says:

"What benefits would a bigger iPad will bring?"

What benefits would a MBA with a touch screen bring?

Vaidin says:

Sounds interesting, but no! I don't think it should be sold a lot. People love more small and portable gadgets. If they want machine for their job, they should buy macbook, not iPad. But macbook with touch screen is better idea :D It's good just for dreaming...

ShameerMulji says:

Seeing that OSX is not touch-optimized, a Mac with a touch screen is out of the cards. What you're really asking for is an iOS notebook, which I definitely see in the realm of possibility.

nadnosliw says:

Yeah I'd agree with your reasoning there. It would have to be done right - something like the ASUS Transformer would work I reckon. But a fixed notebook would have limited appeal for a touch screen - I think it would anyway. Though it could operate like those old school touch screen laptops - screen rotates to act like a fat tablet. Now that's a fablet! :)

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ShameerMulji says:

A fixed notebook with a touch screen would have limited appeal but an iOS notebook where the screen attaches to and detaches from the keyboard base, depending on what you're using it for could have a lot of potential. Something like this Apple patent here;

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2013/04/finally-apple-reveal...

PeterMillard says:

Couple of points.

1/ For normal people ‘Retina’ isn’t that big a deal - it plays well amongst the techie/nerd crowd of sharp-eyed twenty-somethings, but the vast majority of regular users just don’t see it; to clarify, that doesn’t mean that they see the difference and don’t appreciate it, they just don’t see it.

2/ As hard as it is for the techie/nerd crowd to understand, an iPad is capable of quite enough ‘computing’ for the majority of normal users. But the screen needs to be bigger - who wants their only computer to have just a 10” screen? Certainly nobody over the age of 40.

So, a 13” iPad (wether ‘Pro’ or ‘Maxi’ - yeah, let’s get that joke out of the way, kids) will serve a lot of people very nicely. As for Retina displays at that size - remember, the 13” MacBook Pro’s have only just ‘gone retina’ this year; the recent 13” MacBook Air refresh keeps the same old 128ppi display. Maybe we’ll see a 13” Air with Retina display next year, maybe not until the one after.

With that in mind a 13” iPad with 2x display at 198 ppi would be perfectly acceptable in 2014, priced at say, $799 for a 13” iPad 32Gb WiFi (no 16Gb at this size) and going up in the usual increments for increased storage/LTE.

I’d buy one in a heartbeat - and another for my parents.

Solublepeter says:

I would like a larger screen as my eyes get older, and I wouldn't see the pixels, it would also be great for video and web/magazine reading, I don't think you HAVE to increase resolution past 2x.

Nintendo produced a larger-screen DS aimed at adults, which didn't change the screen-res.

A large iPad would have been ridiculously heavy until the Air technologies were introduced, but they make it possible now.

That said, I didn't think Apple would go retina for the Mini this year, and I was wrong there.

jiggens83 says:

Umm, if your eyes can't distinguish between retina and non retina, you should probably get some glasses , not a larger iPad...it would be cheaper as well :)

Solublepeter says:

There are many possible optical problems that glasses don't solve.

Gazoobee says:

@jiggens83: This is just a really dumb (and also insulting) thing to say.

crazygonzo says:

Hell, forget about 16GB completely and keep it only in the basic last year's budget entry models if you have to. I agree with the retina display argument though - it's been proven even by Apple themselves that people buy a device not only for the screen, just look at the 1st gen Mini sales and you know that the display isn't the most important element for most users.

Negaduck says:

My iPad is great. The size is good for me but when I'm teaching a room full of people I sometimes wish it was a little bigger. But if apple does go iPad "pro" it would probably be more than I want to pay. But I can alway hope.

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jngmin00 says:

I don't think Apple would just come up with 'bigger ipad.'Pro' doesn't neccessarily means bigger screen. It just means more power therefore more productivity. I think Apple would still do a great job without the bigger screen. However, if Apple does make the 13 inch ipad pro, if i were to choose, I would choose 11 inch MBA.

Gsarfin says:

iPad pro should run a "dual boot", for lack of a better, term iOS and OSX setup. That would be sweet and would be the only reason is consider one. While were dreaming, 128gigs should be the starting point for storage, at least a quad core 2ghz processor, and min of 4 gigs of ram! Sure, it might cost as much as a Mac Pro, but wouldn't it be sweet?!?!?!

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jngmin00 says:

Oh man. That would cause A LOT of heat. :P A8X will probably do.

chrl98 says:

Can't wait to see how Apple can fit MacOS in a Designed-for-iOS product at the same time. With the amount of innovation and experience that Apple has in each of these markets (Mac and iOS), I doubt that they will have a problem implementing these two together.

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allthingspixel says:

If Apple does go this route, the Smart Cover isn't going to cut it as a kickstand. Looking at the mockup here, can you image the impact of this heavier 13'' device smacking a table top when knocked over?

I think it be interesting to extend this article (nicely done btw) to explore what kind of intelligent covers could be created alongside it. A full-sized, tactile keyboard would be an obvious plus but at some point any features added to a cover would contradict the principle of the iOS touch interface.

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WhatDidYouSayWillis says:

Too big for portability and Too expensive to buy for normal users, it won't sell like the versions do now, compare it to desktops, iMac verses the Pro look at the price difference it's huge Apple would probably start the price at $900.00, Too High for the normal people who spend on these things, there are a few fanboys who would spend for this but the majority will not.

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sir17reeder says:

When I heard the rumors about this I got really curios. I would be interested in this only if they made it able to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets. I want it to have the functionality of a laptop in a tablet. It doesn't need to be a touch screen laptop but just fill in some of the gap. I defiantly don't want it to run a touch optimized OS X. Just a scaled up iOS. Does that make sense?

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Gazoobee says:

re: "... bridge the gap between laptops and tablets."

There is no gap. Microsoft is pretty much the only vendor who believes in this gap and their products are not selling. A tablet with a keyboard case is pretty much all you need to emulate a laptop. The difference between the two is only a difference in OS, not hardware per se, and the software is rapidly becoming interchangeable.

Apple will never make a hybrid tablet/laptop because it makes literally no sense to do so. What they might do on the other hand is extend iOS to the desktop, replacing iMacs instead. It would make sense for example to have a larger iPad that plugs into a desk or stands up somehow with a keyboard attachment, so that people can start replacing desktop computers with tablets.

In other words, the tablet is to the laptop as the (missing product) is to the desktop.

Carioca32 says:

I don't see this happening because its a niche product, and Apple does not need to do niche products anymore. If there is a market for it? Sure, there is also a market for a 20" iPads, and why not a 60" iPad for presentations and classrooms? There is a market for almost any size of tablet, but that doesn't mean that companies will make them.

ShameerMulji says:

"... Apple does not need to do niche products anymore."

What's a Mac Pro, if not a niche product? Apple makes hardware products for content consumption and content creation. Niche or no niche.

Carioca32 says:

Good point.

But I´d argue that the Mac Pro is a reminiscent of an era when the only people really supporting Apple were Mac Pro owners such as video producers and graphics professionals in general, so Apple feels an special obligation towards this product and this public.

benlee78 says:

Yeah, I just don't see the point of this device. I went from an iPad 2 to iPad mini and am absolutely loving the more portable screen size! My girlfriend, on the other hand hates the shrunken-down interface and stays away from my tech (which is fine with me :) ). But in no way is she clamoring for anything larger.

If I need to multi-task, or need to read some extremely detailed report, I'll just pull up a 13-15 inch laptop and get it done real quick. I think this kind of device would defeat the purpose of a tailor-made, portable device. It would cease to be all that portable and the interface would have to be stretched, or have lots of wasted space, to work.

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dreyfus2 says:

A 13" iPad would be the first to display documents (legal or A4) at 1:1. Just the ability to present and fill legacy paper forms (all billions of them) in a readable manner... would be huge. Also: 13" is a size at which pen input starts to make some sense (considering the minimum readable letter size using a capacitive stylus).

When Apple added a 128 GB configuration to the iPad last year, people said it is a niche product. The two Apple stores in my region can't keep the 128 GB iPad Air in stock.

Of course there will be bigger tablets. If tablets are THE post-PC device, there must be. A different input paradigm does not make the need for more screen space obsolete.

And the problem is not ppi or horsepower, the problem is making iOS more appropriate. IMHO iOS 7 already looks a bit silly on the iPad Air. Folders with only 9 apps look silly. A Notes app that is so wide that it becomes hard to read a line of text without effort is silly. Not phone-app-blown-up Android silly, but silly still. While iOS 7 focused on aesthetics, iOS 8 will have to focus on making the tablet GUI richer and more functional for an even bigger device to make sense. I am not talking about OS X on a tablet, but about the vision what advanced post-PC OSs should be. And this includes many areas: flexible screen layouts, multi-tasking, file sharing and management, even more basic things, such as text selection... They all came a long way, but they are certainly not done.

ShameerMulji says:

All good points.

"Also: 13" is a size at which pen input starts to make some sense (considering the minimum readable letter size using a capacitive stylus)."

Actually, I would go as far as to say that pen input makes sense on the iPad mini and iPad Air. They certainly have the screen size and capability.

El Hache says:

I have a 13" MBA and I love it. I still pull it out of my bag and have people at work ask me about it and how cool it looks (we're forced to use the surface pro as our everyday computing device which is, paired with windows 8, the most ill conceived device I've ever had to use). I tell them about how functional and easy to use they are but pricey. I just convinced a coworker to purchase one and she loves it. When someone asks me about buying a computer I say go MBA 13" every time.

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ShameerMulji says:

A 13" MBA is nice but the new 13" rMBP is even better, especially @ $1299.

rogifan says:

I hope if Apple does go down this route they have changes to iOS on the iPad. It would be cool if they could find out a way to make a convertible device where you could chose whether to run iOS or OSX depending upon if you were using the device as a tablet or a laptop. Anyway for me the current version of iOS on 13" iPad doesn't make sense.

ShameerMulji says:

So you want Apple to build their own version of the Surface Pro?

ndogdrumz says:

It would be awkward to hold. The only way to really use it would be be to dock or mount it somewhere. So businesses would benefit from one. I think they should just make it run OSX. Or, give it features (with the other iPads too) to take advantage of the large display. For example, running 2 or 3 apps at once, without lagging.

Guy4Tech says:

The only benefit to something like this would to have a full OS running. Even if it is for a specific market type that does care really about price, the iPad pro would need to be a full OS X or OS XI. It seems both OS's are merging together anyways. The iPad pro would be the device to introduce that kind of thing... Just not yet.

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Gazoobee says:

This makes no sense at all. If they wanted to do that, it would make more sense to put a touchscreen on the current laptop line-up.

Also, while there are programs (OS X programs), that iOS won't run. There is not really anything that you would want to do with an OS X device, that cannot also be done with an iOS device. The idea that it needs OS X to be a "serious" computer is a myth really.

SpicerJr says:

Personally, I like the idea of a 13" iPad Pro as a person who's legally blind (Bigger is better)! My iPad 3rd gen (yes, I'm due for a new iPad, but I'll wait to see what comes next year) is my go to everyday device and use my MBP 15" Retina for the heavier task, but (you'll laugh at this) I find myself touching the screen all the time to Zoom, swipe, double tap or even go for the Home button because I use my iPad with a keyboard case! So, in my eyes, I'd love to see a "convertible" device that comes with a keyboard and you can take the iPad out and use as a regular iPad. One can dream, right? :)

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Balaji86 says:

iPad with bigger screen size is really a great idea.higher resolution and better pictures makes it a great device in hand.

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Iocane Powder says:

Is this larger iPad starting to cross into the mythical land of TV that Apple is secretly working on? The size is intriguing visually...I would love a larger screen...but it seems the iPad Air has finally gotten the size/weight balance correct. Made entirely of graphene it could perhaps help get the balance right on a larger scale but price, not so much. While 13" is small for a TV feels as if it is too large for an iPad. Perhaps if they attached a keyboard to it then....no wait, they did that already and called it something else.

Gazoobee says:

The real bonus of making a larger iPad is that when put in a keyboard case, it will finally have a full-sized keyboard so that touch typing becomes possible for the first time. I would have preferred less about the screen resolution and more visualisations of the keyboard and the physical size of the machine.

This whole article should really be titled "Envisioning the 13" iPad *Screen*," because that's all it's really about. Even then, how about some calculations on how various possible screens will affect battery size and therefore device size?

dalyapp says:

This seems like a niche product and Apple only does niche (Mac Pro) on expensive, high margin products. Given that there hasn't been a public outcry for larger tablets, I can't see Apple doing this.

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Robert George1 says:

Take the MacBook air, give it a rotating screen and touchscreen capability and there you have a perfect device.

nadnosliw says:

I can't see Apple making at 13" iPad. Doubtful there is a significant enough incentive.

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et20 says:

Ever since the iPad mini was announced last year I've been thinking about a larger iPad Apple could make that would allow for side by side multitasking of existing apps without any redesign.

That is why I'm looking forward to Apple releasing an iPad which would basically be two iPads glued together. The resolution would be 2048x3072 and the screen size could be anything between 11.4" (Retina iPad mini PPI) and 14" (iPad Air PPI).
The physical screen size depends mostly on ergonomic arguments like weight.

Team George says:

At first I couldn't see the use of an iPad at all. Then I couldn't see the use of a mini. Now I have both! I do agree that any "pro" label would have to look "pro", hence the need for a stunning display to go with it.

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Winski says:

Rene… THANK YOU… This is hard, tedious work and NOT getting THIS math right makes the whole exercise of building a product like a ‘Pro’ and putting the right marketing and engineering around it a VERY expensive proposition.. Apple is in an interesting dilemma now…. Gobble further on the lower end of their product line or go sideways… they’re already done the figuring now let’s see what the hissing masses, who are usually wrong, have to say…

jimmyah says:

If this is true, apple needs a docking keyboard. This may give it more battery life.

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jimmyah says:

Apple will need to make a keyboard. This may have extra battery.

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nsophronis says:

I think it would be dumb to buy a 13inch tablet. It eliminates the actual scope of using a tablet which is usability without straining your hands and being able to carry it everywhere. I see this going the way smartphones have.

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ShameerMulji says:

smartphones are selling like gangbusters.

leocapot says:

For me that I travel so much it wouldn't work, but probably lots of people would love it. What I would love is a bigger iPhone that I could use for everything.

crazygonzo says:

I was thinking about this a week ago and I don't think that the Pro 1st gen model would get ultra hi-res in 2014. Not worth the cost and developer hassle since normal web pages and not optimised elements would look like s#!t. We know that Apple will stick to their formula and their current res because it's pretty good already and app library would be available on day one.

198 ppi is not exactly Retina level but it's still better than MacBook Air and that why I'm waiting for this iPad and not buying IPad Air or (Mac Air) this year. In this case I believe that the best move would be to release an iPad with 11.5" display because it would be perfect, when we consider pricing, hardware, etc. it simply looks like the best decision. iPad Mini + 1.8" = iPad Air + 1.8" = iPad Pro = still very mobile and a pleasure to use at 590g, the display would probably be 202 ppi or more with the current resolution. Even the best netbook like MacBook Air isn't the best choice when compared with (The Ultimate iPad 11.5") tablet. MacBook Air 11 cannot replace a full sized notebook as the only device (it's a bit too small) but it also doesn't offer the additional touch display functionality of a tablet soooo it sucks :) however you look at it.

IPad Pro means better iOS 8, more productive and universal device that does more and satisfies additional needs of it's users i.e. attachable keyboard cover and hopefully easier connectivity/expandability. Since a dual core A8 chip with 2GB RAM could support even a full system it looks like a must have device in 2014 (laptop ? forget about it).

PieCal says:

In my opinion, the best way to enlarge the screen of the ipad is to give it the same 16 x 10 or 16 x 9 treatment as iphone. Depending on the ratio chosen, you would end up with either an 11" or 12". An inch or two shy of the rumored 13" but it would be more useful imo.

This is an aside....I agree with many of you that the stretched out iphone icon/home screen they use for the ipad really looks/is lazy. I'm surprised they haven't changed it by now. Most computers can adjust the icon layout based on the display attached and I don't know why apple hasn't done this with the ipad.

crazygonzo says:

Ahhh, gorgeous 16 x 10. I'm loving this format already.
At first it was about ease of use, shared library, familiarity of the system, Apple didn't want to alienate potential consumers and if people already liked a product then why risk it with a new one ? That's the main reason why iPad runs iOS.
Unfortunately sometimes I think that's why they cannot make a lot of necessary changes, this system was never meant to be so versatile and that's why it makes more sense on a smaller devices. On the iPhone (or Mini) the simplicity is justified but since it started on the phone the larger the device the 'weirder' it gets (e.g. huge basic icons/buttons). I'm afraid that this iPhone legacy is even worse, their 'day one device' never offered widely available build in connectivity found elsewhere the iPad and other iOS tablets won't be able to do that in the future without a serious rewrite in the system's code. iOS is not compatible enough and when you have to buy accessories or adapters for everything it becomes ridiculous. iOS was never meant to be a system for a big device but with tweaks OSXi could fix that and we would get a lot more useful product the moment you unbox it.

DaMacGuy says:

I don't see a 13" iPad as a slam-dunk. Apple made a good choice with the original iPad size, but that should not restrict where they should go in the future. The question then becomes, what's the benefit of going "maxi" and when does it make more sense to make a touch-sensitive laptop? Would they make a hybrid device that flips into a pure tablet config? Others have done this, do it seems unlikely that Apple would go there. They would not like to be seen as copycats. I don't see a bigger iPad as making a lot of sense at this point.

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DaMacGuy says:

Well, if one buys into the PostPC idea, then you have to think that a 13" iPad is a logical evolution. iOS would have to incorporate some OS X features, such as multiple user accounts, multiple configurations, stronger cloud integration, etc. Could happen.

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crazygonzo says:

About the iPad Mini vs iPad Air: yeah, sometimes I'm still frustrated that developers didn't include additional options or tweak the functionality in their apps for the Mini. They're identical and work just like on the bigger iPad but some elements are really too small and this wasn't addressed at all. Situation could be similar if Apple simply enlarges their system for a 13" inch display iPad because it'll look ugly as hell with huge icons and buttons, iOS app launcher home screen isn't 'display friendly'.

Jobook1 says:

13 inches just seems to big for a tablet... at that size, Your better off with a Macbook! Something more powerful! With apple's pricing... they would be the same price! :p

steel713 says:

Sometime bigger is not always better. We love the fact that every phone or tablet gets bigger.. But why? It's not going to be easy to carry phone or tablet and is that what people want? Easy access and not getting tired or carrying a big phone or tablet around. Can't put a big screen phone in your pocket and I think irbid easier for some one to take it from u. Tablet wise.. the bigger it is the more u just need to get u a laptop. Just saying.

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jayzero76 says:

That took so long that somebody gonna figure that out because that is what apple does next

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David Gillooly says:

My bet is that it will be a 4K display and developers will need to do what they need to do.

Maybe it will be a remote TV screen for when the real Apple TV set hits the market, on July 1, 2014.

Buzzdeean says:

For me the iPad still is no replacement for a laptop by now. Using the apps is nice but surfing the web is a pain on most websites. I'm not talking about the lack of flash since I don't care about that. But I hate how it zooms in on every field where you can type etc.

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rtteachr says:

I don't know about a larger iPad. Couldn't these screens be for a touch enabled laptop?

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alexislgz says:

Actually i think a 13 inch tablet wouldn't be of much portability because of its screen size, in my opinion perfect portable tablets are light and not too big thats why i love the ipad mini if it indeed apple released a 13 inch ipad i think it would be directed more towards home/office use than outdoor use.

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jerrykur says:

Something that big is going to be unwieldy to carry. I don't see wanting this over an 13 inch macbook Air (assuming Retina display) or a even a 13 inch MB Pro Retina. Both of those will run full desktop apps.

Kapil Agarwal says:

I think it would be great. Not only would that help leverage a whole new category for tablets to step in but also would woo people who love big screens( like me). Dell XPS 18 is great and has a nice big screen and I don't see a reason why anyone wouldn't want to buy one with apple's tablet apps slapped on top.

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Cojrom says:

As cool as this concept sounds it's unlikely that apple would create an even larger iPad. I think 9.7 inches is enough for a lot of people. The price would probably be much higher and it would be difficult to hold. They would have to include a wireless keyboard to make it sort of a notebook/tablet device.

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Iosnation says:

Meanwhile, a Samsung engineer reads this and says to the CEO "Hey boss, we should make a Note 13.0." XD

Justin Thiel says:

I think that an iPad Pro would be a bullseye product for Apple to make. It would give iOS a large enough device to finally use for professional work. This would help keep the Mac lineup and iOS lineup separate. From all angles, it seems clear that Apple is keeping OS X and iOS separate beasts with compatible overlapping services. This is smart because it caters to both crowds. If people want the traditional PC, they have that choice. If they want mobile and touch devices they have it. Whatever happens in the future of computing, Apple has a champion in the race. It is clear that they aren't merging iOS and OS X. If they were planning on it, we would have at least seen the same icons on both with Mavericks and iOS 7. No, Apple doesn't feel the need. Why turn a MacBook laptop into an iOS device, when we can just create an iOS hybrid laptop? That's the iPad Pro. "We have revolutionized the way you use a tablet and a PC, by refining the experience into a single product. We call that product iPad Pro." I can almost hear them saying it at the keynote already.

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Tyler Y says:

A 13 inch iPad would be great, because it would be cool to have that little bit more portability than a laptop, as well as having ios on a larger screen. Personally I think a laptop sized tablet would be a big hit, and I'm sure Apple could make it really great! If Apple does do this, I think they should DEFINITELY make their own keyboard case for it, because it would essentially be an ios laptop, and it would be much easier to find a good keyboard case for it if it came straight from Apple themselves.

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BeyondtheTech says:

I'm sure we're going to 4K faster than we're ready for. By "we" I mean the regular consumer, but the Pro users will appreciate it. I wouldn't even be surprised it's running a full OS X, but if it's named iPad Pro, it'll run 64-bit iOS and have memory up to 1TB flash. That, plus Thunderbolt instead of Lightning.

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philips9179 says:

i think apple are going to take the opportunity to kill microsoft with a bigger iPad, because home pc sales are falling with the iPad replacing desktops inside the home, the gap and need is now there for the iPad to formally replace it, the only they have to get right is the screen size and keep it like a portable screen. i also think apple will try to take the opportunity to make osx touch friendly and introduce it throughout their range of desktop and notebook pcs. so basically what I'm saying is:
desktop: for the serious and pro users
ipad pro, air and mini: for people who want a portable screen
notebooks: for a screen which comes with a keyboard attached

i do think that it was fatal for apple to attach the word 'air' to the ipad, because everybody (including samsung) could more or less guess where the product line was going. i also hope to see apple release a iPhone mini for emerging markets, iPhone air as a middle of the road, and iPhone pro all guns blazing

jayzero76 says:

that is what i said when i heard iPad air. but makes sense to me and thats what happens in october when the new iPads coming out. the market is there