Silicon valley

Apple is reportedly planning to start production on its largest ever iPad, offering customers a screen size more usually associated with laptop computers than with tablets. While the iPad Mini and iPad Air currently clock in with screen sizes of 7.9-inches and 9.7-inches diagonally, the new model will have a screen size of 12.9-inches, according to a report fromBloomberg.

The news seems counter-intuitive, as tablet sales have slowed across the industry with only smaller models providing any growth. Apple’s iPad sales were down 9 per cent year on year in the most recent quarter, with only 13.3 million devices sold – compared to the 14.4m predicted by analysts.

Bloomberg suggests however, that the 12.9-inch model could be aimed at businesses, taking on the roles of a traditional computer under the moniker of the ‘iPad Pro’ and slated for release early next year.

This device would dovetail neatly with Apple’s recently-unveiled partnership with IBM designed to target large companies traditionally devoted to Windows machines.

However, it remains to be seen what widespread appeal, if any, a large tablet could hold.

Apple is also thought to be upping the screen size on the iPhone 6, with the vast majority of rumours suggesting that two versions will be launched – one with a 4.7-inch display and another with a 5.5-inch screen (both larger than the 4-inch iPhone 5s).  

Whatever Apple’s plans, it’s clear that the company does not consider tablets a lost cause, with CEO Tim Cook saying in the company’s most recent earnings report: "We still feel the category as a whole is in its early days, and there's still significant innovation that can be brought to the iPad and we can do that.”