iPad Remains World’s Most Popular Tablet as Apple Outsold Samsung and Amazon Combined Last Year

iPad remains the world's most popular tablet by a significant margin, having outsold competing devices from rivals Samsung and Amazon combined last year, according to data shared by research firm IDC today.


Apple sold a total of 43.8 million iPad units in 2017, as confirmed by its quarterly earnings results, while IDC estimates that Samsung and Amazon shipped 24.9 million and 16.7 million tablets respectively on the year. The combined Samsung-Amazon total of 41.6 million tablets is 2.2 million lower than iPad sales.

Apple captured a 26.8 percent share of the tablet market in 2017, meaning that roughly one in every four tablets sold last year was an iPad. Apple's tablet market share rose 2.5 percentage points year-on-year.


Last week, Apple reported revenue of $5.8 billion from iPad sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, representing growth of six percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple's average selling price of an iPad was $445, up slightly from $423 in year-ago quarter, suggesting more higher-priced iPad Pro sales.

Apple's growth in iPad sales, albeit relatively flat, contrasted with the overall tablet market's 6.5 percent decline in shipments in 2017 compared to 2016. iPad has been the world's most popular tablet since shortly after it launched.

Shifting focus to this year, Apple is rumored to launch at least one new iPad Pro model with slimmer bezels, no home button, and Face ID. We haven't heard much about the lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini, but each could certainly receive a routine speed bump this year among other upgrades as well.

Tag: IDC

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What to Expect From Apple in 2018: Three New iPhones and iPad Pro With Face ID, HomePod, Refreshed Macs, and More

Like 2017, 2018 promises to be a major year for Apple, with many new products on the horizon. We'll get Apple's first smart speaker -- the HomePod -- this year, along with a second-generation version of the iPhone X accompanied by a larger-screened version for those who want to go even bigger.

A new iPad Pro with Face ID is said to be in the works, and this is also the year when Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat will debut. Beyond that, we can expect Mac refreshes, new software, a new Apple Watch, and maybe that new modular Mac Pro.

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Below, we've rounded up all of the products we're expecting to see from Apple in 2018 based on both current rumors that we've heard so far and past release information.

HomePod - Early 2018


HomePod is Apple's first Wi-Fi connected smart speaker, designed to compete with existing smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. It was originally meant to debut in December, but Apple delayed its launch to an unspecified date in "early 2018."

With HomePod, Apple focused on sound quality, with a 7 tweeter array, each with its own driver, and a 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, distortion free sound. An A8 chip powers spatial awareness features, allowing the HomePod to analyze a room and then adjust the sound accordingly.


Siri is built into HomePod, and there's integration with Apple Music for Apple Music subscribers. Using a six-microphone array, HomePod can detect Siri commands from anywhere in a room, so Siri can be used to play music, answer queries, and more.

We don't know exactly when HomePod will be released, but it should come out in the first few months of 2018. Apple plans to charge $349 for the speaker.

Read more about HomePod in our HomePod roundup.

Three New iPhones - September 2018


Apple introduced three iPhones in 2017 -- the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone 8 Plus -- and current rumors suggest we'll also see three new models in 2018.

The first iPhone we're expecting will be a followup to the iPhone X with the same 5.8-inch OLED display. Rumors suggest it will be accompanied by a second OLED iPhone, this one measuring in at 6.5 inches, which means it can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus."

Alongside these two OLED iPhones, Apple is also said to be planning to introduce a 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display, positioned as a more affordable device targeting the low-end and midrange markets with a starting price of $649 to $749 in the United States.

Apple's planned 2018 iPhone lineup, via Ming-Chi Kuo

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, all three of these iPhones will feature edge-to-edge displays, Face ID, and TrueDepth camera systems, which means the end of both the Home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in new iPhone models for the time being.

Kuo believes the 5.8-inch model will have a display with 458 pixels per inch, indicating the same 1125 x 2436 resolution as the iPhone X, while the larger 6.5-inch OLED model will offer 480 to 500 pixels per inch. The LCD model, which, as mentioned, will be positioned as a lower cost device, will have a lower-resolution LCD display with 320 to 330 pixels per inch.

Kuo's predictions are often accurate, and he was able to share many details on the iPhone X ahead of its launch, so the three-iPhone rumor is credible.

It's not clear what other features we may see in the 2018 iPhones aside from Face ID and edge-to-edge displays across the board, but a faster processor is a guarantee, and Apple may also adopt improved battery technology to offer longer battery life. New LTE modems are also in the works, which will allow for faster LTE connections.

All of the new iPhones are likely to use the same general design as the iPhone X, with glass bodies to support wireless charging, though one unsubstantiated rumor has suggested the lower-end device might instead include a metal frame.

With the iPhone X, Apple changed its naming scheme for the iPhone, so it's anyone's guess what. the 2018 devices will be called. Apple could name the next-generation iPhone X and its larger sibling the iPhone XI and the XI Plus, but it's not clear if that's what the company plans to do.

Read more about what's coming in the 2018 iPhones in our iPhone X roundup.

iPad Pro - September 2018?


Face ID has been well-received in the iPhone X, and rumors suggest Apple is planning to deploy it to additional devices, including the iPad Pro.

A high-end 2018 iPad Pro could adopt many of the design elements of the iPhone X, with slimmer bezels, no Home button, and Face ID powered through the same TrueDepth camera system introduced in the iPhone X.

iPad Pro render via Benjamin Geskin

A faster processor and custom Apple-built GPU are also rumored for the new tablet, but it's not expected to gain an OLED display, with Apple continuing to use an LCD because of technical and financial constraints.

We haven't heard rumors on the size of this updated tablet, but Apple is likely to stick with the 10.5-inch form factor. Whether we'll also see a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with slimmer bezels and no Home button remains to be seen, but a separate rumor has said all 2018 iPad Pro models will feature Face ID and a TrueDepth camera.

Apple may also have a new version of the Apple Pencil in the works, but what improvements might be included aren't known at this time.

Rumors suggest Apple may introduce the iPad Pro "a little more than a year" after the prior iPad Pro update, which was in June, so we may see the 2018 iPad sometime around September.

Read more about the next-generation iPad Pro in our iPad Pro roundup.

Low-cost iPad - Early 2018?


In 2017, Apple introduced a new 5th-generation 9.7-inch iPad with the lowest price we've seen yet - $329 for the 32GB model. Though not as thin as the iPad Pro, and missing features like Apple Pencil support and ProMotion display technology, the iPad has an A9 processor and is a capable, powerful device.


Rumors suggest Apple could introduce an even lower-cost iPad in 2018, with a price tag that starts at $259. That would allow Apple to better compete in the lower cost tablet market. This rumor comes from DigiTimes, though, a source that's not always entirely reliable, so it's not yet clear if Apple does indeed have an even more affordable iPad in the works.

If there is a new iPad coming, it could be introduced in early 2018, a year after the March 2018 debut of the fifth-generation iPad.

Read more about what's next for the iPad in our iPad roundup.

Apple Watch Series 4 - September 2018


Apple has been updating the Apple Watch on an annual basis, so we're expecting to see a fourth-generation model in 2018. These updates have come in September alongside the iPhone for the last two years, and Apple will likely follow the same schedule for 2018.

The Apple Watch has not seen a redesign since it was first introduced in 2015, so 2018 could be the year that Apple introduces a new look for the wrist-worn device. We haven't heard rumors about a redesigned fourth-generation model, but there was some talk about a redesign for the Apple Watch Series 3.


That didn't happen, but there's a possibility that info was referring to an Apple Watch coming at a later date because it did come from a reliable source - Daring Fireball's John Gruber.

Rumors have suggested Apple will perhaps use micro-LED displays for the 2018 Apple Watch, which would allow for a thinner, lighter display with improved color gamut and brightness.

New sensors could also be in store, as Apple has been testing EKG functionality for the Apple Watch. The feature would require users to place two fingers on either side of the Apple Watch to record the electrical activity of the heart to better detect irregularities. It's not known if this functionality will be ready to debut in 2018.

Other sensors could be in the works, as could accessories that add new health-related capabilities to the device. Apple has been testing non-invasive blood glucose monitoring techniques, but it's not likely this is something ready to debut in a product, and while Apple has patented bands that have built-in sensors, it's also not clear if this is something that will come to fruition. Both are possibilities, though.

Read more about the next Apple Watch in our Apple Watch roundup.

AirPower Charging Mat


The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X introduce support for Qi-based inductive charging for the first time, allowing them to work with Qi-certified chargers. There's no Apple designed charger on the market yet, but as Apple announced in September, an accessory is in the works.


Called the AirPower, Apple's wireless charging device is designed to charge the Apple Watch, the AirPods, and the iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus all at the same time. It will work with the three newest iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 3, and the AirPods with a new inductive charging case that's in the works.

Apple has not announced pricing or a launch date beyond the nebulous "2018" for the AirPower, but rumors suggest it could cost somewhere around $199 in the United States.

Next-Generation AirPods - Mid to Late 2018


Apple in September introduced a second-generation AirPods case that's coming out in 2018 alongside the AirPower charging mat, which is designed to allow the AirPods to charge wirelessly.


In addition to this inductive charging case, Apple is also said to be planning to debut an upgraded version of the AirPods themselves in the second half of 2018. There's no real word on what improvements might be made to the AirPods in 2018, but a "smaller quartz" component is one prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the source of the rumor.

Better Bluetooth connectivity, an upgraded W1 chip, and new color options are all possible features Apple could introduce in updated 2018 AirPods, but nothing is confirmed at this point.

iMac and iMac Pro - Mid-to-Late 2018?


Apple refreshes the iMac on a yearly basis, so we're likely to see updated 21.5 and 27-inch machines with 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips from Intel. The bump to Coffee Lake should introduce some nice speed improvements, as Intel says they're up to 32 percent faster than previous-generation chips.

The iMac hasn't seen a design refresh since 2012, but it's not yet clear if other changes are in store beyond updated internals.


As for the iMac Pro, it's a new product that was just introduced in December of 2017, so we don't yet know its refresh schedule. In the past, Apple has not updated its pro machines on a yearly basis, so it's not yet clear if it will be refreshed with updated components in 2018.

Read more about iMac and iMac Pro in our iMac and iMac Pro roundups.

MacBook Pro - June?


The MacBook Pro is typically refreshed on an annual basis, and 2018 should be no different. We're expecting a minor spec bump with 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh chips, and perhaps some other improvements that include faster RAM and SSDs.

In 2017, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was working on a higher-end MacBook Pro machine for professional users with 32GB RAM, set for a 2017 launch, but no such machine materialized. Whether there's actually such a product in the works remains to be seen.


Given that the MacBook Pro's design was just updated in 2016, we're not expecting any design changes in 2018. The last refresh was in June of 2017, so a 2018 refresh could also happen in June following the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Read more about the MacBook Pro in our MacBook Pro roundup.

MacBook - June?


The MacBook is another machine that Apple normally updates on an annual basis, and this year's refresh is likely to introduce 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh chips for speed and efficiency improvements.


Other internal components could also be updated, but no external design changes are expected as it's only been two years since the MacBook came out.

Read more about the MacBook in our MacBook roundup.

New Software - June Preview, September Release


Apple in 2018 is expected to introduce new versions of the software that runs on iOS devices, Macs, the Apple Watch, and the Apple TV. In 2018, we expect to see iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12.

As it does every year, Apple is likely to introduce these new software updates at the Worldwide Developers Conference, typically held in June. Following WWDC, beta versions will be provided to developers and eventually public beta testers for testing purposes ahead of an eventual September release alongside new iPhones and other new products.


We haven't heard a lot about what we can expect to see in iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12, but one rumor has suggested Apple is working on a universal app solution that would allow developers to create apps that work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Currently, developers must develop apps for iOS and macOS separately.

A unified app system would mean developers could create a single app able to run on iPads, iPhones, Macs, the Apple Watch, and the Apple TV with less effort, as currently, iOS apps can already be extended to the Apple Watch and the Apple TV.

Apple is tentatively planning to introduce this universal app change in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14.

No other hints on what we can expect in next year's software updates have surfaced as of yet, but we're likely to learn more as the next Worldwide Developers Conference approaches.

Products We Might See


Apple TV Shows


Apple is delving into original television programming in a big way, and it's possible the first of the company's new TV shows could launch in 2018.

So far, Apple has purchased the rights to three new TV series: an "Amazing Stories" reboot with Steven Spielberg based on the original sci-fi show that ran from 1985 to 1987, an untitled "morning show drama" starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, best known for creating the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

Amazing Stories from 1985

The morning show drama is described as an "inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning," while the space drama "explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended."

Apple just recently purchased all three of these shows and none of them are in production, so it's not entirely clear when exactly each one will debut.

Read more about Apple's original content plans in our Apple TV roundup.

Mac mini


The Mac mini, which hasn't been updated since 2014, is in dire need of a refresh. We've heard no real word about work on a new Mac mini machine, but in October of 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple plans for Mac mini to be "an important part" of the Mac product lineup going forward.


We don't know if 2018 is the year when the Mac mini will finally be overhauled and updated, but it's a possibility. If Apple does plan on introducing a Mac mini update at some point, it could come in June or September, and it could include 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors from Intel and Thunderbolt 3 support.

Read more about the Mac mini in our Mac mini roundup.

Mac Pro and Display


Apple in April announced plans to introduce a next-generation high-end high-throughput modular Mac Pro that will facilitate regular upgrades to meet the needs of the company's pro user base. Apple plans to ship the machine alongside an upcoming Apple-branded pro display.

Work on the new Mac Pro didn't commence until spring of 2017, and all Apple said about a release date is that it wouldn't be ready in 2017. Apple's made no mention of 2018, but it's possible the Mac Pro will come late in the year. We may, in fact, hear more about it at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which will likely take place in June.

Modular Mac Pro concept image from CURVED/labs.

Apple has a dedicated team working on the Mac Pro, designed specifically for "demanding pro customers." Apple is committed to making the Mac Pro the highest-end desktop system able to accommodate VR and high-end cinema production.

Read more about the Mac Pro in our Mac Pro roundup.

New iPhone SE


People who prefer smaller 4-inch iPhones are undoubtedly hoping for a new version of the iPhone SE, the updated 4-inch device Apple introduced in the spring of 2016. We really haven't heard any concrete, reliable rumors suggesting another version of the iPhone SE is in the works, but there have been some less credible hints.


Supply chain sources told Taiwan's Economic Daily News that a second-generation iPhone SE is in the works for the first half of 2018, with the device to be assembled by Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron at its factory in Bangalore, India.

An entirely questionable and unverified rumor from Indian site Tekz24 has said the next iPhone SE will include an A10 chip, 10GB RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and thinner side bezels, but we're not sure that's accurate information.

Read more about what's next for the iPhone SE in our iPhone SE roundup.

What's Not Likely in 2018


New Apple TV


The Apple TV 4K was released in September of 2017, and so far, Apple hasn't been doing yearly Apple TV updates. Prior to the 2017 release of the Apple TV 4K, there was an updated model released in 2015, but no 2016 refresh.


With an A8 processor in the Apple TV 4K, it's fast enough to hold up for a few years, so we're not expecting to see a new Apple TV in 2018.

Read more about the Apple TV in our Apple TV roundup.

MacBook Air


Apple refreshed the MacBook Air in 2017 with slightly faster Broadwell processors, but aside from that, the device, which is Apple's most affordable laptop, has not been updated since 2015.


Apple is likely phasing the MacBook Air out in favor of the MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, both of which make the "Air" moniker antiquated with their slimmer bodies. The MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro are still not machines Apple is able to sell for under $1,000, so the MacBook Air may stick around for another year or two in its current incarnation. No upgrades are expected, though.

Read more about the MacBook Air in our MacBook Air roundup.

AR Smart Glasses


We've heard multiple rumors suggesting Apple is prototyping augmented reality smart glasses and virtual reality headsets, but while these products are in development, a release is not expected for a couple of years yet.

An AR/VR headset built by VRvana, a company Apple purchased in late 2017

According to the most recent rumors, Apple is working on an augmented reality headset with a dedicated display, built-in processor, and a new "rOS" operating system based on iOS, with the "r" standing for reality. Apple is said to be aiming to finish work on an augmented reality headset by 2019 ahead of a launch it hopes will come in 2020.

A new version of ARKit is rumored to be in development, though, and that could come as soon as 2018. New ARKit functionality could include multi-player game support and support for persistent tracking. Apple in November bought its first VR/AR hardware company, VRvana. VRvana developed a virtual reality headset called Totem, which was designed to combine both augmented and virtual reality technologies in a single headset.

Read more about Apple's work on augmented reality in our AR/VR roundup.

Apple Car Software


Apple is working on an autonomous driving system, but development on the software is still in the early stages and it's not likely we'll see any kind of finished product in 2018. Testing is ongoing on the roads around Apple's Cupertino offices using autonomous driving software and specialized equipment installed in Lexus SUVs.

One of the Lexus SUVs Apple is using to test its autonomous driving software

While no finished products are expected, we may hear more about Apple's work on autonomous software throughout the year. It's not really clear when something will come of Apple's efforts.

Read more about Apple's work on autonomous software in our Apple Car roundup.


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2017’s Biggest Apple Leaks: iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, HomePod, Apple TV 4K, and More

With the year quickly drawing to a close, now is an opportune time to reflect on the biggest Apple rumors and leaks of 2017.


Many new products released by Apple this year were widely rumored in the months leading up to their introductions, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, HomePod, and new iPads. We even had an advanced look at software features like Animoji.

2017 was a particularly interesting year for Apple rumors given leaked or prematurely released versions of iOS 11 and HomePod firmware contained references to several products that had yet to be announced. While not every rumor proved true, much of Apple's roadmap this year was revealed ahead of time.

We've rounded up some of the most notable rumors and leaks of the year, primarily focusing on information that proved to be accurate.

2017 in Rumors


iPhone X


iPhone X is so radically different that rumors about the device began to surface all the way back in early 2016, so we'll start with a primer.

The first report about Apple's plans to release a high-end iPhone with an OLED display this year came from Japan's Nikkei Asian Review in March 2016, roughly a year and a half before the iPhone X was unveiled.

In the same month, DigiTimes revealed the device would have a 5.8-inch display, and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said it would have glass on both the front and back sides, a metal frame, wireless charging, and facial or iris recognition.

By April 2016, the device was being called the iPhone 8. Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz said it wouldn't have a home button.

iPhone X renders from June 2017 via iDrop News

In May 2016, Daring Fireball's John Gruber heard early scuttlebutt suggesting the device would have an edge-to-edge display, with the front-facing camera, Touch ID, and other sensors hidden under the display.

The information provided to Gruber wasn't entirely accurate, but he was on the right track. Rumors continued to surface about Apple removing the home button and adopting facial or iris recognition in lieu of Touch ID.

In September 2016, Kuo said stainless steel would likely be Apple's metal of choice for the iPhone X's frame, with slightly curved 2.5D cover glass on top of the display, as used since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Rumors also began picking up about the iPhone X having a vertically-aligned dual-lens camera with dual optical image stabilization.

iPhone X part leak in June 2017 reveals vertically-aligned dual-lens camera

By the end of 2016, several reports had claimed Apple would release a trio of new iPhones in 2017, including the all-new 5.8-inch model and updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models to replace the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The first iPhone X rumors of 2017 lent credence to the device having a stainless steel frame, facial recognition, and support for inductive charging, rather than RF-based over-the-air wireless charging from Energous.

February was a busy month for iPhone X rumors, with the device said to have 64GB and 256GB storage options, 3GB of RAM, no Touch ID, a higher-capacity two-cell L-shaped battery pack, and a "revolutionary" front camera with 3D facial recognition that we now know as the TrueDepth system.

Around that time, we also learned the device would have a starting price of at least $1,000 in the United States.

In March, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo dismissed a rumor about the iPhone X having a USB-C connector, noting that it would still have a Lightning connector with support for fast charging via USB-C Power Delivery.


In late March, analysts at Barclays said the iPhone X would have a True Tone display that shifts colors based on ambient lighting.

In April, we saw the first schematic of the iPhone X's sensor housing, more commonly known as the notch. The notch houses the front camera, an infrared camera, a flood illuminator, a dot projector, a microphone, an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, and an earpiece that doubles as a speaker.

Rumors about Apple placing Touch ID on the back of the iPhone X persisted into May, but they ultimately proved to be inaccurate. Also in May, we learned the device would have louder stereo speakers.

June was filled with the first iPhone X part leaks, mockups, screen protectors, and dummy units that all pointed towards the device having an all-screen design except for the notch. MacRumors also saw hints of the iPhone 8 showing up in web analytics, suggesting Apple was testing the device internally.

July saw both KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg confirm that Face ID would fully replace Touch ID on the iPhone X.

Perhaps the biggest iPhone X leak to date came in late July courtesy of Apple itself. Shortly after the company accidentally released an internal version of firmware for its upcoming HomePod speaker, developers uncovered a glyph of an iPhone with an all-screen design except for a notch at the top.

iPhone X glyph from leaked iOS 11 golden master

The HomePod firmware proved to be a gold mine for iPhone X leaks, revealing the device's infrared face detection, tap to wake function, split-up status bar, 4K video recording at up to 60 FPS, Face ID compatibility with Apple Pay, suppressed notification sounds when looking at the screen, and much more.

Despite so much of the iPhone X being revealed in the HomePod firmware, August still saw some fresh leaks, including a photo of the device's A11 Bionic chip. Japanese website Mac Otakara also reported that the iPhone X's inductive charging ability would support transmission of up to 7.5 watts of power.

As if the HomePod firmware leaks weren't bad enough for Apple, MacRumors was anonymously provided with download links to a final version of iOS 11 in early September. The software update contained several unredacted references to unannounced iPhone X hardware and software features.

MacRumors uncovered iPhone X screenshots within the iOS 11 filesystem that showed off the new gesture-based home screen indicator. There were also hints that the elongated side button, previously known as the sleep-wake button, could be held to activate Siri or double tapped to bring up the Apple Pay wallet.


The golden master of iOS 11 also referenced the Face ID name for Apple's facial recognition system, True Tone support, a collection of new iPhone X wallpapers, and Apple's new Portrait Lighting feature, including the Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light options.

Within the iOS 11 filesystem, we also found a video file showing four different Animoji characters, including a monkey, cat, dog, and robot. The discovery made it clear that Apple had been working on animated emoji that could presumably be controlled with the iPhone X's then-rumored facial recognition system.


The iOS 11 golden master soon made its way into the hands of some developers, who continued to make discoveries, including technical details about the A11 Bionic being a six-core chip with two high power cores and four low power cores.

The golden master also contained a device tree that confirmed the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus names of Apple's latest smartphones. Continue reading 2017’s Biggest Apple Leaks: iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, HomePod, Apple TV 4K, and More

Apple Reportedly Planning to Release Most Affordable 9.7-inch iPad Ever in Late 2018

Apple is "considering" releasing an updated low-cost 9.7-inch iPad next year with a starting price that's $70 cheaper than its existing equivalent, according to sources from upstream suppliers.

In March 2017, Apple released its most affordable iPad, a $329 entry-level 9.7-inch device that's thicker and heavier than iPad Pro models with internal specs similar to the iPad Air 2. According to DigiTimes, Apple's 2018 version of the 9.7-inch iPad could cost even less at around $259, in a bid to attract more demand from price-oriented consumers and maintain its current tablet shipments of 10 million units a quarter.

With the new device, the sources expect the tablet market to witness a new wave of price competition among first-tier players including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo.

The sources pointed out that Apple's new iPad may arrive in the second quarter of 2018 and in addition to regular consumers Apple is also looking to expand the inexpensive iPad into the industrial and service sectors.
In its November earnings call, Apple reported double-digit unit growth in iPad sales for the second consecutive quarter, but did not provide a breakdown of sales across tablet models. Prior to that, in the June quarter, the company reported sales of 11.4 million iPads, an increase of 15 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. iPad revenue was also up, but only 2 percent year over year, suggesting Apple was selling a lot of new lower-priced 9.7-inch iPads in particular.

The worldwide tablet market declined for a tenth straight quarter on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2017. When the news broke in May, Apple reported that it sold 8.9 million iPads in the quarter, down from 10.2 million iPads in the year-ago quarter, marking the 13th consecutive quarter that it had sold fewer iPads on a year-over-year unit basis.

According to the sources cited today, Apple's aggressive pricing strategy with the next 9.7-inch iPad aims to offset the continuing overall decline, which has seen most second- and third-tier brand vendors already step out of the market.

According to the same sources, Apple is likely to outsource the production of the new 9.7-inch iPad to Compal Electronics, while giving the device's PCB orders to Compeq and Unitech Printed Circuit Board. However, all the companies declined to comment on their orders or clients.

Related Roundup: iPad (2017)
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)

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Black Friday 2017: Save $200 on Apple’s Latest 9.7-Inch iPad With Cellular on Two-Year Contract

Best Buy has discounted all fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad models with Wi-Fi + Cellular by $200 on a two-year contract with Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint.


This limited time Black Friday deal drops the price of Apple's budget tablet to an all-time low of $259 for 32GB of storage or $359 for 128GB of storage, compared to regular prices of $459 and $559 respectively, in the United States.

The deal is available for select Gold and Space Gray models on Best Buy's website, with the deal for other models available at Best Buy stores only.

- 9.7-inch iPad/32GB/Space Gray — now $259, regular $459
- 9.7-inch iPad/128GB/Space Gray — now $359, regular $559
- 9.7-inch iPad/128GB/Gold — now $359, regular $559

Apple's fifth-generation iPad is its latest 9.7-inch tablet, released in March 2017 as a lower cost alternative to the iPad Pro.

The tablet, simply named iPad, is similar in many ways to the iPad Air 2, but it has a faster A9 chip, a brighter Retina display, and it is slightly thicker and heavier. It also lacks a fully laminated display and anti-reflective coating.

Other tech specs include an 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.2.

Given its price point, the tablet lacks most iPad Pro features, including a True Tone display, Smart Connector, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, 4K video recording, LTE Advanced, and four-speaker audio.

For deals on other Apple products and accessories, including non-cellular iPad and iPad Pro models, make sure to check out our Best of Black Friday article and our Black Friday roundup, which continue to be updated throughout the day.

Disclaimer: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy and may receive a small commission if you click one of the above links and make a purchase.

Related Roundups: Apple Black Friday, iPad (2017)
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)

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Get Ready for Upcoming ARKit Apps With Deals on Compatible iPhone SE and iPad Models

Later today Apple will debut iOS 11, the newest software update for iPhones and iPads that will bring changes like a new control center, improvements to Siri, an upgraded user interface on iPad, and the ability to interact with certain apps using advanced augmented reality capabilities. The only way to take advantage of these ARKit-powered apps is with an iPhone or iPad that has an A9, A10, or A11 processor.

Thankfully, a few A9-enabled iOS devices are marked down this week, allowing anyone on older iPhones and iPads the chance to upgrade and get a peek inside Apple's augmented reality future. The first deal is at Walmart, where you can get the 32GB iPhone SE (with an A9 chip) for $129.00 on the retailer's prepaid Straight Talk cellular service. There are only a few Space Gray in stock of the 4-inch iPhone as of writing.


At Staples, there are a variety of ARKit-compatible models of the new 2017 iPads to choose from, including the 9.7-inch iPad with 32GB of storage for $299.00, down from $329.00. The iPad is available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. If you're looking for more storage, there's also the 128GB version of the same iPad on sale for $399.00, down from $429.00. The Staples discounts will continue until Saturday, September 23, while supplies last. Each of these iPads include Apple's A9 chip with 64-bit architecture necessary to run ARKit apps.

In other deals, Walmart has a slight discount on the Apple Pencil at $89.00, down from Apple's retail price of $99.99. Note that Apple Pencil is only compatible on iPad Pro devices, and won't work on the 2017 9.7-inch iPad. Check out our Deals Roundup for even more sales going on this week, which includes Bluetooth speakers from Anker and Jawbone, 12 percent off Apple Watch accessories from Twelve South, and $10 off orders of $50 or more at Pad & Quill.


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Apple’s Sizable Jump in Tablet Sales Wasn’t Entirely Driven by New Lower-Priced 9.7-Inch iPad

Apple recently reported sales of 11.4 million iPads in the June quarter, an increase of 15 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. iPad revenue was also up, but only 2 percent year over year, suggesting Apple was selling a lot of new lower-priced 9.7-inch iPads, which start at just $329 in the United States.


A new report by research firm Strategy Analytics, however, argues that isn't entirely the case. Apple's average selling price for iPads remained steady at $435 in the June quarter, down only one dollar from the March quarter.

That doesn't mean the new 9.7-inch iPad, introduced in late March, isn't popular. With a faster A9 chip and brighter Retina display than the iPad Air 2 it replaced, and for less money than even an iPad mini 4, the tablet provides good value with few compromises for customers at the low end.

What it does mean is that more expensive iPad Pro models likely sold well enough to offset the addition of a lower-priced iPad in Apple's tablet lineup. Apple launched new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models at its Worldwide Developers Conference, a few weeks before the end of its June quarter.

"It's undeniable that lower pricing on the new iPad helped drive sales throughout the June quarter, but the ASPs tell a slightly different story," said Eric Smith, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, speaking with MacRumors.

"ASPs were steady from last quarter, showing that higher priced iPad Pro models also sold well, even though the new 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch models were out for less than a month in the June quarter," he added.

For historical perspective, the average selling price of iPads has typically been between roughly $415 and $450 since 2015, although it briefly rose to $490 in the year-ago quarter following the launch of the original 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Wall Street Beat


Apple's sales of 11.4 million iPads far exceeded analyst expectations. The average Wall Street prediction was approximately 9 million iPads sold, according to Wells Fargo, with some analysts predicting as low as 7 million.

Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple took a 26 percent share of the global tablet market in the June quarter, up from 21 percent in the year-ago quarter. iPad remained the world's best selling tablet, ahead of Samsung tablets, which maintained an estimated 13 percent market share in the quarter.


Chinese company Huawei also saw explosive 42 percent growth in the quarter, with an estimated 3.2 million tablet shipments, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple, Huawei, and Amazon were the only tablet makers to experience growth in the quarter, with Samsung, Lenovo, and all other vendors facing declines.

It's worth noting that Apple doesn't disclose iPad sales on a model-by-model basis in its quarterly earnings results.

Given the new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models were released towards the end of the June quarter, the tablets should have even more of an impact on Apple's tablet sales in the fourth quarter. Apple's 15 percent increase in iPad sales marked the product category's first unit growth in nearly four years.

Also See
: IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker for June Quarter

Related Roundup: iPad (2017)
Tag: Strategy Analytics
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

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Microsoft Possibly Working on ‘Touch Cover’ Smart Keyboard For iPad

Microsoft appears to be working on a Touch Cover smart keyboard for at least one iPad model, according to battery information for products containing lithium-ion batteries shared on its website earlier this year.

Microsoft's Surface RT with Touch Cover

The documents were published in April, but they were only discovered now by German blog WinFuture, which tipped its information to The Verge. The product is clearly listed: iPad Touch Cover (Model 1719).

Microsoft previously sold Touch Covers for its Surface tablets that doubled as pressure-sensitive keyboards and protective covers.


Those covers magnetically click into place and provide protection for the Surface's touchscreen. They have a standard keyboard layout, shortcut keys, and a two-button touchpad that supports gestures.

It's unknown if the iPad version would be similar. All that's known is that it presumably has a lithium-ion battery, suggesting it could connect over Bluetooth. It could also work with an iPad Pro's Smart Connector, but that seems less likely.

Of course, Microsoft could have scrapped plans to release an iPad keyboard between April and now, or perhaps even earlier. For now, the single document is all we have to go on. We'll provide an update if that changes.

Related Roundup: iPad (2017)
Tag: Microsoft
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

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