KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors on Friday that the new 9.7-inch iPad, which many expect to be introduced at Apple’s Chicago Education Event on Tuesday, may offer support for the Apple Pencil.
Kuo predicted 2018 Apple Pencil shipments could rise to 9 to 10 million units, “given that the new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil,” in an effort to differentiate it from the low-cost tablets offered by Android manufacturers.
Strong demand for low-price 9.7-inch iPad in 2017. iPad shipments hit 43.8mn units in 2017, well above the 35mn units forecast by the market at the beginning of the year. The primary driver was the low-price 9.7-inch model, whose selling points are competitive pricing and a significantly larger panel than those of six- to seven-inch smartphones (iPad mini was a flop because it was replaced by large-screen smartphones). In a bid to strengthen its selling points and to differentiate it more from low-price Android tablets, the new low-price 9.7-inch iPad (starting mass production in 2Q18) will likely support Apple Pencil.
Speculation about Pencil support for a new 9.7-inch iPad have circulated ever since the invitation for the event was sent to media members. The design of the invite appears to have been created using an Apple Pencil.
At this point, no one is sure whether a new version of the Apple Pencil will be offered, or if the new iPad will simply support the existing Pencil.
A low-cost iPad would better allow Apple to compete with low-cost Chromebooks which have become popular with educational institutions. Pencil compatibility would offer the ability for students to draw and write directly on the iPad’s screen using the smart stylus.
Kuo predicts 9.7-inch iPad shipments will account for over 70% of all iPad shipments in 2018. Those numbers would have a definite effect on iPad Apple Pencil shipment numbers if the new tablets offer Pencil support.
Kuo also believes larger screened iPhones may lead to Apple Pencil support for Apple’s popular handset. However, Kuo does not expect such support in the 2018 release for the handset.