by Darrell Etherington (@drizzled)
Apple could add gold to the menu for the next version of the 9.7-inch iPad Air, according to Bloomberg, and then introduce a 12.9-inch version of its tablet next year. This is in line with rumors we’ve heard from Bloomberg before, which pegged a large-screen iPad as being added to the lineup back in August. But the note regarding the color update for the new iPad is interesting in that it specifically refers to 9.7-inch models, and suggests that we might not see huge changes for Apple’s tablet lineup this update cycle.
So far, we’ve heard mostly that Apple plans to make only minor changes to the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display this year. We’ll likely see improvements made to the processor, with an upgrade to the A8 debuted in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, or possibly an A8+, as we’ve seen the company do in the past to help differentiate its tablet processor line.
A gold option would actually likely be enough (along with under the hood spec improvements) to keep iPad sales rolling steady for another year; what we’ve seen over the past few years of tablet sales is that users treat them much more like computers than they do smartphones, at least in terms of their purchase cycles. Users will buy a tablet and hang on to it for multiple years, instead of forking over cash for a new device every year, which many buyers still do for the iPhone.
Plus, a completely new iPad debuting in 2015 would help build sales for the line throughout the year, regardless of what kind of updates we see in the Air and mini this month. If Apple is planning a larger slate, it’ll be interesting to see how they position it – maybe they do move it more aligned with their Mac business, for instance, which could help set expectations for the category’s performance going forward. -TC