Does Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) oversized Galaxy Note Pro model raise the stakes for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the tablet market? A recent rumor from an Asian supply chain source suggested that Apple may have adjusted its tablet market strategy based on the recent debut of Samsung’s 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro tablet.
According to supply chain sources cited by the Taiwan-based DigiTimes, Samsung’s new large-screen tablet has put additional pressure on Apple’s large-screen iPad production plans. “Samsung’s recent launch of its 12.2-inch model is expected to propel Apple to accelerate development of large-size iPads,” noted DigiTimes’ unnamed sources. “Apple is likely to release a 12.9-inch model by the end of the third quarter at the earliest.”
DigiTimes has a mixed track record when it comes to the accuracy of its supply chain rumors. On the other hand, there have been multiple rumors about a large-format iPad that have been reported by various media outlets since May of last year. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal bolstered the supply chain rumors with its own report about a “new tablet measuring slightly less than 13 inches.” More recently, DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh predicted that Apple would release a 12.9-inch iPad with a 2,732 x 2,048 pixel resolution and 265 ppi sometime in 2014.
Whether or not Apple is responding to Samsung’s Galaxy Note Pro debut, it should be noted that Samsung may have created its oversized tablet in response to the original rumors about Apple’s large-screen iPad. The Korea-based manufacturer has a history of rushing products to market in order to beat its California-based rival. According to CNET, Samsung completed the Galaxy Gear wearable tech product less than a year after the initial decision was made to create it.
Although Apple has never confirmed the development of a 12.9-inch iPad, some analysts have already speculated about the device’s potential impact on the tablet market. In a recent note to investors obtained by Barron’s, Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang predicted that the 12.9-inch iPad will operate as a two-in-one hybrid device and will be targeted at enterprise users. Other industry commentators believe the upcoming large-screen iPad will be a desktop computer replacement for the traditional PC and will be aimed at the educational market.
Besides noting Apple’s supposed adjustment to its large-screen iPad development plans, DigiTimes’ sources also reported that Apple’s suppliers are already working on new models of its 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad mini. The sources also predicted that Apple will ship 80 to 90 million iPads in 2014, while rival Samsung will ship 60 to 70 million tablets.