While Apple has tested the feature with plans to release it for current iPads, we are told that the feature was actually developed with a larger, 12-inch iPad in mind, so it could potentially be held back for a debut with the new hardware. Sources have confirmed that Apple is testing jumbo-sized iPads internally codenamed “J98″ and “J99,” which are apparently larger versions of the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2, save for additional speaker holes. Dubbed “iPad Pro” in prior reports, the larger device’s launch date is yet to be locked down, as the tablet is still waiting for its software to be finished up, and new hardware components to be readily available.
While current “iPad Pro” prototypes are said to run a version of iOS that looks like a larger variant of the iPad mini and iPad Air version, Apple’s goal is to further tweak iOS for the bigger iPad so users can better leverage the additional screen real estate. Besides split-screen apps, Apple is considering redesigning core apps and features, including Siri and Notification Center, to be better presented on the larger display. This new iPad is also rumored to have additional keyboard and USB support, and basic manufacturing schematics for the device leaked late last year.
The idea of Apple releasing a larger variant of the iPad makes sense especially as iOS matures and each iPad generation gains significant desktop class architecture. Professionals will no doubt embrace the larger display especially with improved multi tasking and split screen capabilities potentially coming as well. I use my iPad all day for work and I am excited at the prospect of more power and a larger canvas to work on. Releasing a larger iPad will potentially kick start the recent decline in iPad sales.