four iPad mini retina display

KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new research note this weekend, offering predictions on Apple’s tablet plans for the next two years. The analyst, who has a strong track record in tech predictions, believes that 2014 will be the year of the iPad Air.

Kuo sees Apple updating the full-sized iPad this year with an A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and possibly a few other improvements. But as for a new iPad mini and the oft-rumored 12.9-inch iPad “pro,” he believes we wont see them until 2015…

MacRumors has Kuo’s research note:

“Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models. We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9” iPad. As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9” iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air.”

This is the first time we’ve heard anyone suggest that Apple won’t be refreshing the iPad mini this year. And Kuo’s theory that the 12.9-inch iPad won’t launch until 2015 also contradicts with multiple reports, which pointed to a late 2014 introduction for the ‘pro’ tablet.

12_9_ipad_macbook_air-800x450concept by  CiccareseDesign

So why delay these two products? Well Kuo believes that Apple will be focusing all of its resources on its smartwatch project this year, which he is still expecting to launch this fall. The company is also said to be preparing big updates for its iPhone and Apple TV lines.

This being said, the analyst is anticipating the eventual release of a 12.9-inch iPad. He thinks the larger tablet will fuel more interactive apps and games, and increase professional sales. Previous reports have suggested it could be aimed at enterprise or education.

Rounding out his predictions, Kuo backs the recent claim that Apple plans to wind down iPad 2 production soon, as sales begin to taper off. And he believes they’ll replace it by restarting mass production of the iPad 4, which has a Retina display and Lightning connector.

There are some interesting theories here, and Kuo’s usually pretty good with this stuff. What do you think about his predictions?

  • Nihas Nebas

    What apple should consider doing is that customize iOS just for the iPad’s larger screen. Almost Everything is just stretched out, like the notification center etc. Redesign the iOS(not just the apps) to take advantage of the full screen

    • Kurt

      Multi-screen would be nice

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  • Guest

    iOS needs to be redesigned for iPads, this has been one of my biggest gripes with Apple’s way of thinking. The current iOS was never intended for use on larger devices & is currently wasting all that extra screen space that could be used for things such as Widgets etc, on the Springboard & lock screens etc.
    And as @kurt178:disqus said, multiscreen/true multitasking would be a great feature.

    • on3simpleclick

      I agree with myself because I accidentally deleted this comment,
      but Disqus feels the need to keep my comment anyway. Sigh.

  • Andrey Gerasimenko

    Samsung will release 12 inch tablet soon and that tablet will run 4 apps side by side. I guess Apple will see what happens and decide accordingly. What I get from the tablet history is that it is impossible to imagine or predict how market will react to a device. Unfortunately, that which will be a yet another experiment for Samsung may be called a grave mistake made without Jobs for Apple.

    I am surprised by Kuo’s reaction to iPad mini sales since it should be known they are much better than Apple expected and the very idea of concentrating resources does not apply to a company with the margins Apple enjoys. Possibly it is just against the best interests of the guild of prophets to leave something unpredicted.

    I feel he is right predicting the end of iPad 2, though. My wild guess is that one device will replace both it and iPod touch.

    • Kurt

      It’s already been released. It looks pretty nice. Has great mobile office apps. I still would prefer to get a Windows 8 tablet that I can hook up to a tv/monitor and use it as a desktop when you need/want. I just want one that’s around 13 inches. I’m really curious what the new iPad will offer. I can’t imagine Apple will only make it larger. They will add features. I hope wacom pen is one of them.


  • Jack Wong

    Seriously… Did Apple announce that they will have 12.9 inches iPad?

    Is there a demand for that?

    Portable laptop is 11-14″

    Portable tablet is 7-10″

    Anything for home, I prefer 20″+

    • felixtaf

      There was no demand for the bigger iPod Touch (The iPad we have now) at that time. Still Apple released it and created a new market.

      There are certain things targeted towards certain people.Ex: Mac Pro, iPod Touch. The bigger iPad will be great for artists and designers, who can do some of their work in iPad. (And I dont see the use of 12.9″ iPad to me)

      • Jack Wong

        It is more like can tablet(iOS/Android) replace a full OS device?

        I have an iPhone and Air 11″, my next gadget will be ThinkPad 8.

  • Matt

    This is funny because on android tablets the apps are stretched out phone apps, ha ha but on the iPad it’s the other way around where the apps are perfect and the OS is a stretched out mobile OS!

    • felixtaf

      Infact latest android OS for tablets is a stretched out mobile OS too…. They had better lookin UI for a tablet in Honey comb. Now everything is like mobile, unless u buy Samsung’s touchwiz flavoured one.

  • Xee

    The iPad Mini Retina (iPad Mini Air – as I like to call it) is pretty much perfect! I love it. Much prefer it to the bigger iPad Air, specially if you already have a previous full size iPad.

  • Jim Hart

    And Apple yet again falls behind in tech. Other manufacturers will now take the lead with larger tablets and, as it is happening more often, Apple will play catch up in the consumer’s mind.

    • isitjustme

      I didn’t know making a bigger screen product is a leap in innovation.