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article imageApple could unveil a new 10.5-inch iPad next month

By James Walker     May 15, 2017 in Technology
Apple could reveal a new larger iPad device at its WWDC developers conference in San Jose next month. A respected analyst has claimed a 10.5-inch iPad Pro is on the way which will use slim bezels to have a similar footprint to smaller models.
The information comes from well-regarded KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a "2017 WWDC Highlights" report obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said there's a "greater than 70 percent chance" of a 10.5-inch iPad making its way to the stage.
The long-rumoured model will sit between the existing 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch variants of the Pro. Physically, its size won't be much larger than the 9.7-inch model because Apple will include space-saving slimline bezels. The narrow display surround will lead to a marginal increase in overall chassis size, even though the visible screen area is substantially larger.
The 10.5-inch iPad was previously expected to launch at Apple's hardware event in March. It failed to make an appearance as Apple instead revealed a different standalone device. The "iPad" replaced the iPad Air 2, dropping the "Air" moniker and simplifying the line's branding. It's a 9.7-inch device which lacks all the professional-oriented features of the Pro.
It's possible Apple debuted this device first to highlight its revised iPad naming scheme. The unlabelled iPad is intended for casual buyers who are unlikely to user their tablet for work. The Pro is an option for more demanding customers, a statement its larger 10.5-inch display size will affirm. By introducing its refreshed Pro line-up after the namesake product, Apple could be intending to increase familiarity with the new structure.
Kuo believes the 10.5-inch Pro will launch at WWDC because Apple has planned a production ramp up for the end of the current quarter. This signals a device unveiling is imminent, requiring increased manufacturing capacity to get units into stores more quickly. Alongside the 10.5-inch Pro, Kuo also expects to see an upgraded 12.9-inch "Pro 2" added to the range.
The other headline hardware product likely to arrive at WWDC is Apple's awaited Amazon Echo rival. Development of the company's Siri-powered speaker is said to be nearing completion, making an unveiling at WWDC probable. Kuo has doubts though, giving it a "greater than 50 percent chance" of an appearance.
The device could be shown off ahead of a launch later in the year, giving developers time to add compatibility to their apps. The speaker is said to look similar to the Google Home and target the same areas of functionality as the Home and Amazon Echo. Apple is working on four core fundamental capabilities: Siri integration, proactive assistance, speech recognition and web searches.
If it makes it to the event, the smart speaker could be the headline announcement of this year's WWDC. It will give Apple a credible presence in one of the fastest-growing areas of tech and add a new kind of hardware to its line-up. Analysts are understandably excited about the potential as "all-new" Apple launches tend to be few and far between.
WWDC will be taking place from June 5 to June 9. Livestreams are usually offered using the Safari browser on Mac devices and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.
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