A recent report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Quo suggests that Apple appears ready to restructure the iPad Product line. The goal is, apparently, to clearly correlate increasing size and sophistication with price to make sure customers can upgrade or enter the market at the desired level. Ming-Chi Quo believes sales and ASPs will benefit, but there may be more going on.
Clarity of Marketing – Not
When the iPad Pro 9.7 shipped in March, 2016 it had a few features not available in its bigger brother, the 12.9-inch model. That included the True Tone white balance adjustment, a slightly wider color gamut, a slightly faster rear-facing (iSight) camera lens and 12 vs. 8 megapixels. Dr. Raymond Soneira declared it to be a truly impressive major achievement.
It almost seemed like Apple had some tech it wanted to roll out, but it wasn’t ready for the 12.9 inch model back in November of 2015. So the improvements were rolled into the smaller 9.7-inch model four months later. This seemed like great technology but inept marketing.
I think it’s safe to say that we all expected Apple to bring the 12.9-inch model up to par in the late fall of 2016. That is, the 12.9-inch model would become as technically advanced as its little brother and include the A10X chipset, the iPad version of the A10 found in the iPhone 7. But it didn’t happen. Apple was silent on the matter.
Sources differ, but one possible explanation was poor yields of the A10X chipset fron TSMC. That’s based on a 10 nm fabrication process which is state-of-the-art. Later, TSMC refuted this claim, but we don’t know the truth.