Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new report as to what his expectations are for Apple’s iPad lineup. Kuo says Apple will debut three new iPads in the Spring quarter of 2017.
Kuo – who has a better track record than most when it comes to predictions like this – says all indication support his belief that Apple will debut a 12.9-inch “iPad Pro 2,” and “low-cost: 9.7-inch iPad, and a bezel-free mid-range model measuring in somewhere in the area of 10 and 10.5 inches.
We note the 12.9″ model will be the second generation of the existing 12.9″ iPad Pro, the 10-10.5″ model will be the high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design, and the 9.7″ model will be the low-priced option. The former two models will have an A10X chip manufactured by TSMC (2330 TT, NT$183.5, N), while the latter comes with an A9 chip made by Samsung LSI. Although we estimate iPad shipments in 2017 will drop again YoY to 35-37mn units, we except the decline to narrow to 10% from 2016’s roughly 20%, given that the 10-10.5″ model may see more demand from commercial/enterprises and tender markets, while the low-priced 9.7″ model may have a greater shipment contribution and likely account for 50-60% of total shipments of new iPads.
Kuo’s new predictions are slightly different from his expectations that were published back in August when he specified a mid-sized model of exactly 10.5 inches.
The 12.9-inch and 10 “something”-inch models will likely be powered by an “A10X” chip, which will be a beefed up version of the A10 found in the current iPhone. Kuo says the “A10X” will be fabricated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The 9.7-inch budget model will be powered by a version of the A9 chip, manufactured by Samsung.
Kuo believes “the worst has passed” for Apple’s tablet device, predicting a slimmer year-on-year shipment decrease in 2017. He says an improved product mix and an improved cost structure are among the contributing factors for his expectations.
Kuo believes the 9.7-inch “low-price” model may move the most units out the door, representing as much as 50-60% of total iPad shipments.