Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes told clients on Tuesday that Apple releasing a 7” iPad “appears more likely.” In a research note obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Reitzes said that, ” recent research still leads us to believe that Apple may be planning to add another form factor to its iPad line in the 7” range for the fall.”
Apple has long been rumored to be working on a smaller iPad model, with most rumors pointing to a device in the 7” range, or more specifically, 7.85”. There have been a number of prognostications, guesses, and leaks from Apple’s supply chain suggesting that Apple could release such a device sometime in the second half of 2012.
“We believe that this type of product could be useful in promoting Apple’s agenda in education with e-textbook,” the analyst wrote. “Also, the form factor could make sense in gaming, which could become a bigger platform for Apple over time.”
Mr. Reitzes also pointed to repeated comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has predicted that the tablet market will eventually eclipse the PC market. Mr. Reitzes argued that a smaller form factor with a lower price point (alongside the larger iPad) is a necessary component for this prediction to come true.
The analyst didn’t specify the “research” that led to his increased belief that a smaller iPad was on the way.
The research note also said that Mac sales declined year-over-year in March and April, and said that these declines reflected a pause ahead of new product releases. To that end, he expects Apple to undertake a “major product launch soon,” including new iMacs, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs in June.
Recapping a variety of recent rumors and leaks, he said that some of the new products could include retina displays, new Ivy Bridge processors, and more NAND memory in Apple’s MacBook Pro line. He also said he believes that Apple will introduce an $800 MacBook Air.
“In short,” he said, ” Apple should launch new Airs and software (OS X Mountain Lion, iOS6) before Ultrabooks on Windows 8 even get going. We see Mac sales accelerating markedly into [calendar year]-end.”
Mr. Reitzes maintained his “Overweight” rating on Apple’s stock and a price target of US$750.
Shares of AAPL have been languishing for the last few weeks, and ended the day on Tuesday at $553.17, down $5.05 (-0.90 percent), on moderately strong volume of 17 million shares trading hands.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.