12.9-inch iPad Air renders suggest a cheaper way to go Pro

When Apple launched the iPad Pro, it tried to justify its existence with a slogan that questioned what computers really are these days. It pushed forward the thought of the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, which made sense for an iPad with the largest display available of its kind. Although smaller models eventually launched, it was only the iPad Pro that could boast having the largest screen among Apple’s tablets, but that might no longer be the case soon. Leaked information suggests that Apple will be mixing things up a bit and might introduce a 12.9-inch iPad Air that could add more choice for consumers but also make its message a little bit more confusing as well.

Designer: Apple (via 91mobiles)

Putting the largest iPad under the “Pro” model makes perfect sense considering what it empowers users to accomplish. With that much screen real estate, multi-tasking with two apps side-by-side is not only easy but even comfortable, while having a large digital canvas frees creators to do their best work. The size also implies having bigger or better hardware capabilities, and indeed, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro always has the latest and greatest that Apple has to offer on any iPad.

Unofficial CAD schematics, however, herald the coming of a 12.9-inch iPad Air, a family of tablets better known for their accessible price tags and, more often than not, more modest specs. The renders don’t come with any launch date, which means it could happen this year or never at all. Leaks never carry 100% accuracy, but the mere idea that Apple will be launching what will be the largest iPad Air is quite curious and could spark even more interest in the iPad line.

For all intents and purposes, this 12.9-inch iPad Air is a stretched-out regular iPad Air, and all the design cues of the current model are evident. There are thick bezels, at least compared to the iPad Pro of the same size, and a single camera. That camera, however, is also the only place where the 12.9-inch design diverges, using a pill-shaped island to enclose both the camera and LED flash instead of a single circle for the lens itself.

This 12.9-inch iPad Air could be Apple’s attempt to offer an extra-large iPad without the bells and whistles that make the 12.9-inch iPad Pro quite expensive. It’s the same strategy it is using with the iPhone Plus models, which isn’t exactly raking in sales. It does give consumers more choices, but considering how the iPad Air is already a watered-down iPad Pro in terms of many features, including Apple Pencil support, it does weaken the appeal of the iPad Pro line by having what is practically a cheaper iPad Pro.