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Apple’s rumored 16-inch iPad sounds like an oversized mistake

When it comes to tech, it seems that the rumor mill never stops turning, and this is especially true with brands like Apple. A new one popped up that has me scratching my head: the possibility of a 16-inch iPad. And to that, I have just one question: Really?

According to the rumor, we may see a possible 16-inch iPad as soon as Q4 2023. Given that this is usually when Apple releases major product refreshes with both the iPhone and iPad lineups, there may be some substance to this rumor. But I hope that’s not the case, because the idea of an iPad that large to me is just comical.

A 16-inch tablet is an ergonomic nightmare

The iPad Pro on a desk next to a stylus and AirPods.
Digital Trends

I’m practically on some kind of device all day long, whether that’s my iPhone 14 Pro, Pixel 7, 27-inch iMac, 2020 11-inch iPad Pro, or M1 MacBook Pro. You’d be hard-pressed to find me not on a screen of some kind (even though I know it’s terrible for my eyes and joints).

I have small hands, so even using my iPhone 14 Pro is tiring, despite the fact that I have a MagSafe PopSocket to help me use it one-handed. Most of the day, I’ll be holding my iPhone or Android device, and after an extended period of time, I usually feel my hands cramping up or some kind of discomfort — my body telling me that I need a break. And this is just with a small device like an iPhone! I know I’m not the only one out there who may experience this.

Several years back, I was given a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and though I can see the appeal for some people, I always thought it was just too big. I tend to use iPads more for reading and watching media, versus doing actual work on them. With this use case in mind, I like to hold my iPad in my hands while on the couch to read the news or browse my social media. I used a keyboard case that also folds back, allowing me to use the iPad in portrait mode if I so wish, which I did.

An iPad Pro with Apple Pencil
Digital Trends

However, the 12.9-inch iPad is already very big, heavy, and just exhausting to hold in your hands without support. And now you’re telling me that Apple is considering a 16-inch iPad? I can only imagine what a behemoth that would be!

So far, I’m just talking about a 16-inch iPad by itself. This isn’t even considering extra accessories, like a Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil, a protective case, or other things you may need for it. Once you add all that, imagine how much heavier that 16-inch iPad would be — and how unwieldy it would be to carry it around, be it by itself or even in a bag.

Big screen, limited appeal

The Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad mini magnetically.
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

According to the rumor, a 16-inch iPad would “further blur the line between iPad and MacBook,” which is something that Apple’s been doing with iPadOS 16, particularly with the controversy that is Stage Manager. Also, a 16-inch iPad is best served for creatives who could use even more screen estate. But, of course, having more space on the screen won’t come cheap. I can only imagine how much an iPad this big would cost.

Yes, I suppose anyone who’d be interested in a 16-inch iPad would be a creative, artists graphic designer, photographer, or video editor who would actually benefit from more screen space. But would it really be worth the extra cost for an iPad that big, or would it be more beneficial to just pick up a 16-inch MacBook Pro at that point? Perhaps drawing on a laptop isn’t ideal, but there are five other iPad sizes to choose from, so is a 16-inch screen even really necessary?

And let’s be real here: The current iteration of iPadOS still doesn’t quite match up to what you can do on macOS. Apple’s M-series of chips still seem wasted because of iPadOS’s limitations, so you’d still be better off with an actual MacBook. The only advantage of an iPad would be for drawing with an Apple Pencil, but again, you have five other sizes of iPad across four different models to choose from.

This would just complicate an already messy iPad lineup

The iPad (2022) with an Apple Pencil plugged into it using a USB-C cable and adapter.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Since the launch of new iPads last week, the current iPad lineup is already messy. You have a brand-new base model iPad that gets the camera positioned on the side (so it’s more natural with selfies and video calls), but the new M2 iPad Pros still have the camera at the top. And the base iPad finally uses USB-C, but you can still only use the first-generation Apple Pencil with it, which needs a brand new hideous adapter to charge since it uses a lightning charging port.

If Apple were to add a 16-inch iPad to the lineup, would it replace the 12.9-inch iPad Pro? Or would Apple just get rid of the much more portable 11-inch iPad Pro, which has always seemed to be like the ugly duckling of the Pro devices? It’s complicated, and I honestly just don’t see why we need a monstrous 16-inch iPad. My hands are already cramping up just thinking about it, and so is my wallet.

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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