In keeping with its long tradition of secrecy, Apple isn’t commenting about its future product lines. However, enough reports have leaked over the past few months about an extra-large iPad to suggest that something is indeed in the works. The Journal’s unnamed sources suggest that Apple could add USB 3.0 ports to the device, along with ports for a keyboard and mouse.
If the rumors are true, a supersized iPad would represent a philosophical shift of sorts for Apple, which has endeavored to keep its tablet as minimalist as possible with regard to ports and hardware add-ons. Assuming a late-2015 launch, the device would also face a stagnating tablet market, which could harm its commercial prospects.
Apple may presume that a larger tablet with more ports would appeal to businesses; and if enough businesses decided to purchase this “iPad Max,” those sales could offset any weakness in the consumer market. But aside from graphic designers, photographers, and other artists, it’s difficult to see which business segments could have a burning need for an iPad that measures 12.9 inches as opposed to the current 9.7.
On the other hand, if smartphones have become more successful by growing larger, maybe tablets should do the same.