iFans who were looking forward to Apple refreshing its 7.9-inch iPad mini may be disappointed to learn that the company will likely overlook the tablet yet again.
According to a note to investors from KGI Securities' analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will be updating the iPad Pro, but there was no mention of the iPad mini getting a new lease of life. Kuo shared that Apple would likely launch a trio of new iPads, but his note does not mention the 7.9-inch iPad mini which was last updated in 2015.
The note's copy was acquired by publication AppleInsider, which shared Kuos thoughts on the impending lineup of Apple tablets.
"We expect three new iPads (12.9" iPad Pro 2, new size 10.5" iPad Pro & low-cost 9.7" iPad) to be launched in 2017, though this may not drive shipment growth amid structural headwinds; 2017F shipments to fall 10-20 percent YoY," noted the analyst.
The new iPad models are anticipated to be unveiled in Q2 2017, which means they will make their way to consumers sometime between April to June.
What Does Apple Have In Store?
The iPad trio would include the next-gen variant of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro with narrow bezels, as well as a low cost 9.7- inch model.
For the uninitiated, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which debuted in September 2015, has the distinction of being the biggest tablet from Apple and is primarily aimed at business users
According to Kuo, an A10X processor will power both the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, as well as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2. This chipset will be made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The cheaper 9.7-inch iPad — previously the iPad Air — would house a variant of the A9 chip found on the iPhone 6s, which released in 2016. Interestingly, the chip for the 9.7-inch iPad will be manufactured by Apple's arch-rival Samsung.
The analyst predicts that the 9.7-inch iPad model will be the most popular of the three. He estimates that the affordable iPad option will account for 50 percent to 60 percent of the total new iPad shipments.
The analyst forecasts that "the worst has passed" for the tablet and even though iPad shipments may experience a decline — a drop of 10 percent year-over-year — improved average retail pricing of the device, coupled with professional standard models would give a fillip to the revenue generation.
What About The iPad mini 5?
Kuo does not mention the iPad mini 5, the successor of the iPad mini 4, which hints that either the 7.9-inch tablet will not be on Apple's agenda, or the analyst did not have any forecasts for the device.