12-inch iPad: Apple partnering with Quanta Computer for bigger tablet, report says

Now that the dust has settled following the launch of the new iPhones, the spotlight will once again fall on Apple’s iPad, with many observers expecting the company to announce a revamped 9.7-inch tablet as well as an updated iPad Mini in the next month or two.

Speculation is also growing about the possibility of a larger iPad, with a new report Tuesday from leading Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News claiming the Cupertino company is working with Quanta Computer to make a slate with a 12-inch display.

Though a partnership with Taiwan-based Quanta Computer may seem out of step with Apple’s usual iPad production process – it currently uses the services of Foxconn and Pegatron – the company does already manufacture the MacBook Air and according to UDN’s report is looking to diversify.

Tuesday’s news follows a Wall Street Journal report in July claiming Apple was in the process of testing displays “slightly less than 13 inches diagonally”. However, the Journal added that it wasn’t clear if the larger device would ever make it to market as Apple, like most big tech firms, routinely tests an array of designs before deciding which, if any, to develop further.

Content with the success of its 9.7-inch iPad, Apple was reluctant to launch a smaller version, with late CEO Steve Jobs apparently staunchly opposed to the idea. However, after Tim Cook took over at the top, smaller slates from companies like Amazon and Google proved a hit with consumers, a situation which caused Apple to rethink its strategy and in turn led to the launch of the iPad Mini.

There may appear to be little consumer interest in a tablet so large you could eat your dinner off it, but it may be that Tim Cook and his team are looking at the education and business markets instead.

Even if the company is thinking of launching a large tablet, there’s more pressing business to deal with just now – ie. the rollout of the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2. Expected in the next couple of months, the 9.7-inch device is rumored to sport a design similar to that of the current Mini, with a slimmer bezel and squarer edges. As for the iPad Mini, it’s almost certain to get a new high-definition Retina display.

[Macotakara via MacRumors]

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