New Rumors for Retina MacBook Air and 12-inch iPad Pro

DigiTimes has posted a pair of speculative statements, but they seem to fit in with what we've been expecting all along. Even so, they must be considered rumors.


First, in an article published on Tuesday, DigiTimes reported, in a story about expected MacBook shipments, that Apple will launch a MacBook Air with a Retina display in the second half of 2014. That seems eminently reasonable because the last MacBook Air update was in mid-2013. Also, we've been expecting, thanks to the economics of scale, that the Retina displays would eventually percolate down to Apple's entry level MacBook Air.

The overall gist of the article was that MacBook shipments were as expected in January and February 2014, but that March shipments were down. Again, that isn't too surprising. With the holiday euphoria over, customers who still need a new MacBook are sizing up what they may need and when they expect Apple to announce new models. Plus, Apple — as Tim Cook has pointed out — frequently modifies its orders to adjust inventory. Such changes probably don't reflect long-term demand, especially when new models are expected later in the year.

Next, the same article also had an interesting note about iPads. Previously, DigiTimes reported that Apple had shelved plans for a 12-inch class iPad, dubbed by the media as the "iPad Pro." See, for example, "Apple Reportedly Shelves Plans for a Larger iPad ‘Pro’."

12-inch iPad concept via MacRumors. Used with permission.

However, in Tuesday's report, the authors state: "Apple will launch a large (around 12-inch) iPad in the second half of 2014, with Quanta Computer responsible for OEM production." It's hard to know if this is inconsistent reporting or a reversal of Apple's decision. Or something else.

This review of a 12-inch Galaxy Note Pro notes that it is "too big for its own good." It would be easy too conclude that Mr. Gruman's review means that Apple could never build a winning 12-inch iPad. However, Apple always seems to hit the nail on the head when it comes to industrial design, and if Apple does decide to make a 12-inch iPad, it will no doubt solve the problems of reconciling size, weight, balance and the way it's held.

In any case, we shall soon see on both accounts. Meanwhile, skepticism remains in order.