Apple has already shrunk the size of the iPad with the iPad Mini, but there is now speculation that Apple might increase the size of its popular tablet. According to the Korea Times, Apple is working on a 12.9-inch iPad. That's an iPad with a screen size similar to that of a 13-inch laptop.
A smaller iPad has made a lot of sense. The only difference between the new iPad Mini with Retina Display and the iPad Air is the smaller size, which makes the tablet more portable and easier to hold in one hand.
The idea of a bigger tablet, on the other hand, seems a bit out there. Is it meant for people with giant hands, just like those phablets? Is it meant to replace poster board signs? Will it double as a cutting board? All jokes aside, there might be a few practical uses for what we are starting to call the iPad Max.
1. For Home Use
Back in April 2012, Toshiba released the Excite 13. It was a 13-inch tablet that Toshiba marketed for home and primarily kitchen use. It came with a kickstand for easily propping up in the kitchen to use for cooking. A bigger iPad would also be ideal for keeping in the living room for couch web surfing, Facebook stalking or whatever it is you do on your iPad while lounging around. It would also be ideal for using with the Apple TV's Airplay features.
2. To Use With Others
Ross Rubin, a principal analyst at Rectile Research, also believes that the bigger screen would provide a better multimedia experience right on the tablet. "A larger iPad could provide a more immersive media experience for movies and games," he said.
A wider screen would also lend itself better to sharing that screen with others. It's easier to huddle around a bigger screen to watch a YouTube clip or to toss in the backseat and let the kids watch a video together. Also, with a bigger touchscreen, two-person gameplay could become more popular. Imagine what this could do for the future of chess.
3. For Use With a Keyboard
Right before the iPad Air event in October, there were rumors that Apple was planning to release a keyboard dock or cover for the iPad, similar to that of the one for the Microsoft Surface tablet. That didn't pan out, but a 13-inch iPad, which is right in between the 11.6- and 13-inch MacBook Air, could make for a better keyboard/tablet experience. More screen space would mean a wider keyboard; many of the third-party iPad keyboards out now are quite cramped. Rubin also points out that a bigger screen could make an iPad more of a productivity device. "It might also further encroach on the sales of notebooks; many of the Windows hybrid devices have larger displays than the iPad," Rubin said.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, has already said that he does not fear the laptop cannibalization caused by the iPads. While Cook has said that combining tablets and computers the way Microsoft has with Windows 8 is like combining a toaster and a refrigerator, a bigger, more expensive iPad that worked well with a keyboard could help bridge the gap between the laptop and tablet world for Apple in a careful and smart way.
Of course, the iPad Max rumors are just rumors at this point, but the idea of a super-size Apple tablet might make more sense than you'd think.