Apple’s current largest tablet is the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, but a 16-inch model would match Apple’s biggest MacBook, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.
Citing a source familiar with the plans, The Information reports that a 16-inch iPad would blur the line between the iPad and MacBook. Apple could release the 16-inch iPad in the fourth quarter of 2023, although the report also notes that Apple might change its plans and not proceed with the super-sized model.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman last year reported that Apple was working on iPads larger than the 12.9-inch Pro. Gurman also said that, after using the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro felt cramped, making a 14-inch or 16-inch iPad an attractive prospect.
The latest report doesn’t state whether Apple would position the 16-inch tablet as an iPad or as part of its iPad Pro range.
Supply chain analyst Ross Young last year reported that Apple could launch a 14.1-inch iPad (rather than iPad Pro due to the use of regular LED instead of more expensive miniLED). He predicted a launch in the first quarter of 2023, as 9to5Mac reported at the time.
As The Verge notes, a larger iPad could help iron out some of the pricing confusion caused by the new 10th-generation iPad. At $449, the new entry-level iPad with an Apple Magic Keyboard Folio ($249) and Apple Pencil ($99) gets pretty close to the $999 M1 MacBook Air. That higher price for the 2022 iPad likely explains why Apple is still selling the 9th-generation iPad at $329.
Apple has already blurred the lines between the iPad and MacBooks with the iPadOS 16 Stage Manager multitasking feature, which makes it easier for iPad users to switch apps and overlap windows on-screen, more like a desktop. Stage Manager is also available for MacOS Ventura. This multitasking feature could be even more compelling on larger iPads, which could mirror the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.