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Apple reportedly prepping two 12.9-inch iPads for 2014 launch

For many months now, a number of sites and news outlets, the Wall Street Journal among them, have been reporting that Apple is in the midst of prepping a large-size tablet, possibly of 12.9 inches.

Now we have Chinese website PadNews (via Apple Insider) suggesting the tech giant is testing five different 12.9-inch tablet models, with the company looking to launch two versions next year.

Reportedly to be built by Apple’s main manufacturing partner Foxconn, which has many factories in China already churning out iDevices, the first iPad ‘Biggie’ – that’s our name not theirs – would hit the market with a 2K display, with a 4K model arriving a few months after.

PadNews’ sources say the first version of what would be the tech giant’s biggest tablet to date could start selling as early April, with the second one landing in October. However, if Apple did decide to launch a 2K iPad first, you’d think many interested consumers would simply decide to wait for the superior model a few months later, especially if more stories surface between now and then suggesting this double launch is the route Apple has decided to take.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time the company released two slates within months of each other. Many of you will recall that Apple launched two different iPads (v. 3 and 4) last year just eight months apart, though they both came with the same high-res Retina display.

Multiple reports

As for the Biggie, the increasing number of reports suggesting its existence make it hard to ignore the idea that Apple is looking to launch an iPad so large you could use it as a tray, or possibly a sled if you’re feeling particularly reckless.

In July, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported that officials working for Apple suppliers in Asia had said the Cupertino company had asked for displays “slightly less than 13 inches diagonally”.

Additionally, a leading Taiwanese newspaper suggested in September Apple is developing a large slate, though the report claimed Taiwan-based Quanta Computer, not Foxconn, was set to produce it.

And just last month the Korea Times, citing a source in the supply chain, reported that a large-size iPad would likely launch early next year.

It wasn’t so long ago that Apple turned its nose up at the idea of producing alternative sizes to its popular 9.7-inch slate, with late CEO Steve Jobs once famously saying that a smaller tablet, for example, would have to be sold with sandpaper so that users could file their fingertips down to size to enable them to touch the on-screen buttons. 

The popularity of small-size tablets from rival firms, however, persuaded it – under the leadership of Tim Cook – to launch the iPad Mini, with the company apparently once again looking to further increase its array of tablet offerings.