Do we really need an iPad larger than 12.9 inches?

"Big screen is productivity." This sentence used to be a slogan designed by many manufacturers for notebook computers, and in the near future the object it describes may become a tablet computer.

Bloomberg's author Mark Gurman, who has high accuracy in Apple product forecasts, recently published an article stating that Apple is exploring a larger iPad, which means that the new iPad in the future may surpass the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

14 inches, or 16 inches?

As soon as the news came out, it caused a lot of discussion. It was too big and inconvenient to use, iPad Pro Max, iPad Pro Max Plus Ultra, replacing computers, etc., filled the comment area, or questioned or ridiculed.

So does a larger iPad really make sense to us?

Large-size tablets are not nonsense

The main reason why large-size iPads are questioned is that it affects portability. Ordinary people of 8-inch or even 11-inch can hold it with one hand, display or write with Apple Pencil, and if it exceeds this size, the weight will increase rapidly, and the screen will be too large The persistence is not very good either.

▲ The reason why the iPad mini is called an entertainment artifact is its small size

As a result, the advantages of tablet computers as large-screen entertainment products have also been weakened.

We also mentioned when we experienced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. With its huge size and 682g weight, it is usually not removed for use at all. It is normal to use it with the Magic Keyboard.

But the Apple family is not actually trying to explore larger tablets. Samsung is also there. The foreign media sammobile has previously posted that it has obtained leaked information. Samsung’s next-generation Android flagship tablet series has a large-screen version.

It is likely to be named Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, equipped with a 14.6-inch OLED screen, and is also the most positioned and most expensive version of the Galaxy Tab S8 series of tablets.

▲The other two models are 11 inches and 12.4 inches respectively. Picture from: sammobile

Coincidentally, the Yoga Pad Pro recently launched by Lenovo has a screen size of 13 inches. It is completely different from the previous 10-inch tablet as the mainstream product in the market.

According to the market data report released by IDC, Apple, Samsung, and Lenovo are among the companies with the highest market share of tablet computers in the first quarter of 2021, and the combined market share of the three even exceeds 60%.

▲ The top five global tablet PC shipments in the first quarter of 2021. Data from: IDC

As the industry's leading companies, they have all chosen to start exploring larger-sized tablets, which in themselves proves that large-sized tablets are one of the industry trends.

Why is this happening?

It is the same reason that has been repeatedly said. The epidemic has caused a surge in demand for office and online education, and the global epidemic has still not stopped, and the demand will continue for some time. The epidemic has also accelerated the transformation of people's mixed office and online learning habits.

This has led to a significant increase in tablet shipments. IDC's report also mentioned that the tablet market shipments have increased for 4 consecutive quarters.

To take a share of this fast-growing market and even occupy a leading position, products must be changed. Whether in the office or education market, increasing the screen size is one of the fast and effective ways.

Display more content, more convenient to watch, more suitable for study or light office.

Microsoft's multiple changes on Windows 11 also increase the possibility of more traditional computer manufacturers entering this market.

First, Windows 11 supports running Android applications, which can be used as a good Android tablet; second, Windows 11 not only optimizes the touch experience, but also supports a wider variety of applications, providing developers and consumers with more choices. .

▲Windows 11 supports UWP, Windows applications, Android applications, PWA web applications, etc.

The change in user habits has made it possible for the flattened tablet category to develop further, but it also means that it has to directly compete with computers. The change in form is to increase the competitiveness of tablets. Large size improves efficiency.

At this stage, the large-size iPad does not have much competitive advantage

Now the iPad Pro has used a narrow bezel design. Increasing the size means increasing the screen size. This increases the content and breadth of the screen display for users, and is especially more suitable for multi-tasking work.

Increasing the screen to improve efficiency has become a common practice in the industry. Folding screen phones have larger screens than ordinary smartphones. Like Huawei’s "Parallel Vision" function launched on the Mate X series, the left and right columns display different software levels. Combining multitasking with the advantages of displaying more content on a large screen works well.

And iPad cooperates with the more perfect split-screen function on iPadOS 15, increasing the screen seems to go with the flow.

But don’t forget that the advantage of the Mac’s large screen is also efficiency. When the 14-inch iPad and Mac appear at the same time, how do users choose?

This is not only a multiple-choice question that users need to face, but also a question that Apple needs to consider. The enlarged screen of the iPad will inevitably erode the Mac. For many light office users, the difference in functionality between the two is not counted. Big.

In an interview with Techcrunch, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering John Ternus also said that the iPad and Mac will not be integrated, and the iPad will not be a touch-screened Mac.

However, in terms of professional productivity, there is a big gap between iPad and Mac. Even if the new iPad Pro uses the desktop M1 chip and even has a better mini LED screen than MacBook Pro, it still lacks enough. Large-scale productivity software.

Increasing the size does not give iPads much competitive advantage in the office market. At present, whether Apple or Samsung, larger tablets have the strongest hardware and the highest positioning, but the software limitations make them unable to play out.

For example, Lenovo’s Yoga Pad Pro is not only a tablet computer, but also a portable screen with its own hanging loop design. It is used for game entertainment or auxiliary work. It has more uses than ordinary tablets. It also makes good use of the large screen. Advantage,

In the education market, the most important thing is never the equipment, but the content. The popularity of the home-teaching machine tablet is one of the best cases. They often have a mediocre performance configuration, but they have enough teaching content and supporting tools.

The same is a tablet computer. In the education market, large-size iPads are not much better than cheaper computers or even Chromebooks. Most of the tablets that were out of stock due to the epidemic before were in the 3,000 yuan price range.

Even with the hot tablet market and the continued development of low-power Bluetooth technology to further reduce the price of wireless keyboards and styluses, the highest-positioned large-size tablet and keyboard sets are still more expensive than many traditional laptops.

Compared with traditional computers at this stage, large-size iPads do not have absolute advantages, and entry-level tablets are more advantageous to expand the screen size. This is one of the reasons for the success of ChromeBook, low-cost large screen.

From this point of view, the sales of large-size tablets will be much lower than those of about 10-inch tablets. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also mentioned in the forecast that large-size iPads will not be available soon, and Apple is still in the exploratory stage.

Bigger iPad, facing the future?

The advantage of iPad over traditional laptops lies in the more intuitive touch interaction method. “Jobs Biography” once described such a story. A 6-year-old boy who had never touched the iPad, easily without any guidance Learned to manipulate it.

The advantages of touch interaction are vividly reflected in this story.

After Apple equipped the iPad with the Magic Keyboard, the interactive ways of the iPad have become more abundant. Its imaginable space is much larger than that of a traditional laptop. The large-sized iPad with Apple Pencil will obviously be a better drawing tool. A larger screen helps to draw larger size content.

The corresponding painting content can even be further imported into the keynote as a material. Therefore, the iPad can become a product with a unified workflow, and it has the potential to become a stronger money-making tool.

What the iPad lacks is enough large-scale productivity software, but Apple has not eagerly installed macOS on it, because it already has a Mac. Apple hopes to replace the PC with the iPad, but it is not to make the iPad another PC.

The iPad is more like the seed that Apple will plant for the next generation of computers. Before this seed grows up, Apple also needs to fertilize it from time to time to give it conditions for healthy growth. The M1 chip and iPadOS 15 strengthen the control of multi-tasking. These are all "fertilizers."

At this stage, it seems that the "large size" that cannot quickly increase the competitiveness of the iPad may also be one of the fertilizers, giving the iPad enough space and waiting for more third-party developers to make better use of them.

When the conditions are ripe-more and more software like Procreate with productivity attributes and compatible with the iPad interaction mode appears, this little sapling will get closer and closer when it leaves the flower.

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