Fresh reports of an impending big-screen Apple MaxiPad have surfaced in the Mysterious East, with a Chinese-language website saying that a 12.9-inch version of the fast-selling fondleslab may appear as soon as March 2014.
Or maybe it will be 11.4 inches, according to Chinese-language website PadNews (Google Translate). We're not aware of the Middle Kingdom's idiom for "cover your ass," but PadNews carefully practices that bit of journalistic protectionism, noting that it can't verify the accuracy of its source.
Its report also contends that Apple's assembly partner Foxconn is 目前样机正在做UI方面的调试 — "currently doing the UI debugging," according to Google Translate – of the 12.9-inch version, which would indicate that the device is rather far along in its development, and would make the March 2014 release date a realistic possibility.
PadNews also says that unnamed 各大研构的 – "major research institutions" – are predicting that large-sized tablet PCs will experience growth in 2014 due to the influence of the Microsoft Surface 2 along with Intel's push for "2-in-1" tablet-notebook mashups. You remember those – they used to be known as "convertibles and detachables".
Following the 2-in-1 model, the report also notes that there's a possibility that the MaxiPad may come equipped with a detachable keyboard – and Reg readers will remember the recent rumors that Apple is testing Surface-like keyboard covers for its iPads.
This latest report is not the first to mention a possible Apple MaxiPad – which PadNews, by the way, refers to somewhat more delicately as an "iPad Maxi". This July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had asked its suppliers for displays to fit an iPad that was "slightly less than 13 inches" – and 12.9 inches fits that bill quite precisely.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a conference call discussing his company most recent financial results, fanbois should expect "some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014." It's looking a bit more likely that one of them will be a 12.9 or 11.4-inch MaxiPad. Or both.
Just don't expect Apple's marketeers to give it exactly that name – or, for that matter, the iPad Maxi. ®