Planning New iPad Launches in 1st Half of 2017 Apple's iPad business could get a much-needed boost from a bevy of interesting new products slated to launch in the first half of 2017. Ashraf Eassa ( TMFChipFool ) Jan 20, 2017 at 11:23AM According to a pre-publication note in DigiTimes, Apple ( NASDAQ:AAPL ) is preparing to launch three new iPad models in the first half of 2017. The note, which doesn't include too many details, says that in the first quarter of 2017 -- this quarter -- Apple will begin producing what it refers to as a "9.7-inch iPad with a friendly price range." Then, in the second quarter, Apple is expected to begin producing two flagship products: an updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a 10.5-inch iPad. The note doesn't refer to it as an "iPad Pro," curiously enough. Apple's iPad business has been struggling for quite some time, with multiple years of unit declines. To put things in perspective, Apple shipped nearly 68 million iPads in its fiscal 2014; that figure plunged to 54.9 million in fiscal 2015 and then to 45.6 million in fiscal 2016. Revenue, too, has struggled as well, with iPad-related revenues dropping from $30.3 billion in 2014 to $23.2 billion in 2015, and then again to $20.6 billion in 2016. Apple obviously isn't going to give up on this product line, so its best course of action is to continue to invest in building excellent products to try to stimulate demand -- or, more pessimistically, stem the rate of demand declines. Let's take a closer look at what we should expect from these new iPad models, and what they could mean for Apple's iPad business. The cheaper 9.7-inch iPad Today's 9.7-inch iPad offerings consist of the discounted iPad Air 2 and the pricier 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The latter has a faster processor than the former (A9X vs A8X), superior wide-color True Tone display, improved cameras, support for the Apple Pencil, and support for Apple's smart keyboard. Image source: Apple. Previously, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the cheaper 9.7-inch iPad will incorporate an Apple A9 chip manufactured by Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF).
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