A 13-inch iPad Could Create New Tablet Markets for Apple

When we think about a 13-inch iPad, we can't just think about a larger display for things like reading, art and designing.  Instead, there comes a point where a larger iPad creates whole new markets and applications. Let's speculate.


When one thinks about a larger iPad, one might think about how easier it would be to read magazines and newspapers, decipher maps and create art. But then, after some reflection, one realizes that 1) the size jump on a personal, financial basis isn't worth it, 2) not that many people would need one and 3) it's not that portable.

And so the product idea is easy to dismiss.

13 -inch iPad concept from Macrumors, used with permission.

Instead, when I think about a 12.9-inch iPad, I think about enablement. That is, what unforeseen activities would suddenly become feasible that weren't before? What new markets would be enabled? What activities formerly done on a PC would look like candidates for a larger iPad in a way that weren't thought of before?

In other words, the level of technology disruption would be completely unrelated to the percent increase in screen size, going from 9.7 to 12.9 inches.

Apple's job, as always, is to figure that out. That's because if a larger iPad doesn't resonate with potential new markets, the sales won't be to Apple's satisfaction. Apple doesn't invest big bucks in manufacturing unless it expects a significant return on investment.

I can't say I know right now what those markets might be with certainty, those that will generate the ROI Apple wants. Some candidates in my mind are field maps for infantry men, publication design and layout, computer aided design (CAD), point of sale terminals, scientific visualization, 4K video editing (see below), more impactful games, training, retail store displays and, finally, data center, airport, shipboard and military status displays.

Image credit: Shutterstock.

As we move to larger iPads, we may have to move from friendly single app displays to multiple apps on the screen, data sharing, and possibly end-user computer languages combined with graphics packages. All this violates the current thinking about how a single person uses an iPad in a friendly, personal way. So it will be interesting to see how tempting it will be -- and technically challenging -- for Apple to create new markets that further impinge on the classic PC and fuel Apple's iPad ambitions.


Tech News Debris for the Week of 25 November and 2 December

Let's say Apple does introduce a 13-inch iPad Pro. (They will.) If you scale up a 2048 x 1536 display to 12.9 inches diagonally, the pixel density drops to 198 ppi (pixels per inch). That's not Retina class. So what would Apple do? Rene Ritche delves into all that with "Imagining a 13-inch iPad Pro" and looks at 3K and 4K options.

Which companies are using which technologies to protect your data? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has produced an infographic, "Encrypt the Web Report: Who's Doing What" This chart should raise a serious ruckus and embarrass a few of the companies, including Apple.

Partial chart. Credit: Electronic Frontier Foundation. See text.

The technology of mobile payments is still in flux. Brian S. Hall sizes it all up in this report: "The mobile payments melee rages on."

This the time of year when we, perhaps, spend more time in bookstores and start thinking about eBook readers for ourselves or as gifts, so it's not a happy affair to hear about Barnes & Noble in a bit of trouble with the Nook. "Barnes & Noble’s Nook business falls more than 32%"

When observers take on on Microsoft, the one bright spot often pointed to is the success of the Xbox. But there's a problem. After expenses associated with bringing it to market, Microsoft is losing money on every Xbox One it sells. Solution? Sell a lot of them.

It is conventional wisdom that violent computer games lead to real-world violence amongst kids. Yet, so far as I know, no research has ever proven that notion. Here's a great article by Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker on why research has not led to that conclusion. In fact, first-person shooter games may actually sync with our DNA in an atavistic, beneficial way that shouldn't be too surprising. Yet it is. "Why Gamers Can’t Stop Playing First-Person Shooters." So when we see Apple celebrate certain games at a keynote, there's a whole new perspective.

What's it really like to work at an Amazon warehouse, um, fulfillment center? Why, send in a journalist, of course to get a job and then tell all. And wow does Carole Cadwalladr tell all. You'll be spellbound. "My week as an Amazon insider." It's a good article to have on your mind as you buy your holiday gifts.

Does wearing Google Glass while you drive constitute a driving infraction in the same manner as texting? Here's food for thought. "Driver ticketed for wearing Glass fights charges in court."

Ben Greenman at The New Yorker doesn't especially like the iOS 7 music player on the iPhone. In fact, he thinks the music interface has been broken. It could be, in my opinion, that Apple has transitioned from focusing on playing the music you have to focusing on music discovery. After all, that makes Apple more money, and I think that may be at play here. Check out "Why iOS 7 Gets Music Playing Wrong." What do you think?

Could this discovery lead to a whole new generation of electronic devices? It just goes to show that the wondrous laws of physics afford continuing opportunities that might lead to even thinner, faster iPads and iPhones. So far, it's a glimmer -- but a tantalizing one.

This is the time of year when many journalists make predictions. Here's an especially good set based on technology trends instead of idiosyncratic predictions of specific products. "Siri Gets Serious, Microsoft Gets Its Mojo Back and Everything Gets Encrypted in 2014."

Finally, here's a good primer on Apple's iBeacon. If you haven't heard about iBeacon, now is the time to get up to speed. "Apple guides shoppers inside stores with iBeacon."


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week combined with a summary of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.