Earlier today, we told you that Apple could launch its new iPad tablets as soon as next week without any type of major announcement. Confirming that new iPads are on the way to being announced, is a report published today that cites mobile marketing firm Fiksu. Logs produced by the latter reveal that a number of new iOS tablets have been tested in the area around San Francisco and Cupertino.
The data from Fiksu shows that Apple is testing four different tablets. Fiksu has a special tracking and attribution SDK which thousands of apps use. Apple installs apps on its devices while testing them, and some of these apps are bound to support Fiksu’s tracking capabilities. Fiksu has spotted iOS tablets carrying the internal model names such as “7,1” “7,2,” “7,3,” and “7,4.” The model that appeared the most times (17) was 7,1. That was followed by model 7,2 (11 appearances), 7,4 (10 appearances) and model 7,3 (5 appearances). One month prior to the launch of the last Apple iPad Pro, Fiksu saw models “6,3/6,4” and “6,7/6,8” being tested around Cupertino. The new devices recently tested were running a mix of the iOS 10.3 beta and iOS 11.
According to KGI Securities’ reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will unveil three new iPad Pro units with updates to the current 9.7-inch and 12.3-inch iPad Pro models. A 10.5-inch version will replace the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and will feature narrower bezels. That variant, and the revised 12.3-inch iPad Pro will both be powered by the A10X chip; the 9.7-inch model will be considered a budget version and will sport the A9 chip employed by the Apple iPhone 6s. Kuo sees the budget model grabbing 50% to 60% of the sales generated by the three new models.
The iPad, like the rest of the tablet market, has been suffering from a multi-year decline in sales. During Apple’s fiscal Q1, which ended in December, Apple earned $5.5 billion in revenue by selling 13.3 million iPad units. The revenue was down 22% year-over-year and the number of tablets sold was 19% lower from the previous year. The problem, as tablet manufacturers have discovered, is that these devices are not working on a two-year replacement cycle like smartphones are. To prove that point, Fiksu points out that the first four full-size iPad generations, plus the original Apple iPad mini, are responsible for more than 45% of current iPad use. And those slates were originally sold between 2010 and 2012.