Apple Inc. (AAPL) is set to launch three new iPads next quarter in different form factors, according to Ming-Chi Quo, a respected Apple analyst. His report, which was first cited by 9to5Mac, claims that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will introduce iPads in three sizes: 12.9-inch, between 10 and 10.5 inches, and 9.7-inch.
The largest size iPad, which is the company's latest installment of its iPad Pro, will feature the A10 processor that was installed in the iPhone 7. The 10-inch version will have the same processor and will incorporate a narrow bezel design. According to Kuo, this version of the iPad will be in demand from enterprise and "tender" markets. (Apple has inked agreements with corporate partners for sale of iPads.) Finally, the 9.7-inch version will have an A9 processor but will be the biggest contributor to iPad sales, with a share of between 50% and 60% of total iPad shipments. (See also: Apple iPad Pro Sales Better Than Tablet Performance.)
On an overall basis, Kuo forecasts a 10% decline in iPad shipments this year. Despite the decline, Kuo says the "worst has passed" for iPads. He provides three reasons for this assessment.
First, Apple seems to have recovered from the 20% decline in iPad shipments last year. Second, sales for the iPad mini, which cut into Apple's famously lucrative margins, seem to be tapering off in favor of the iPad Pro. This should improve the company's revenue position with respect to the iPad. Third, Kuo writes that the company has an improved cost structure for production because the display industry has an increasing number of suppliers for touch-module lamination, which is type of display Apple uses for its devices. (See also: Is It Time to Bet on the iPad Again?)
All of this means good things for Apple’s bottom line in the coming year. To be sure, the company's reorientation of its tablet from the consumer market to the enterprise market is not news. The New York Times ran a big story last year about Apple's efforts to target enterprises, which include inking partnerships with the likes of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and selling devices to government organizations.
Nonetheless, the latest set of iPad sizes and capabilities is further proof that the company is doubling down in favor of the enterprise market as opposed to the consumer market. (See also: Apple Quietly Becomes Big Company Supplier.)