'iPad Pro' iffy, Microsoft Office on iPad 'alive' in 2014: Reports

Coming soon -- or not so soon -- to an iPad near you: Reports weigh in on iPad 'Pro' and Microsoft Office coming to the popular tablet.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
iPad Air appears to be selling better than the iPad Mini Retina.
iPad Air appears to be selling better than the iPad Mini Retina. Apple

A pair of reports speak to coming iPad attractions. One addresses the prospects for the so-called iPad Pro, the other, Microsoft Office running on Apple's tablet.

A larger iPad in 2014? Don't bet the farm on it is the crux of a report, via AppleInsider, from Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

While Kuo expects development of the iPad Pro to be important for Apple's future, the device -- rumored to be 12.9 inches -- will require a modified operating system. The upshot: that may not be doable by the end of 2014, Kuo claimed.

And even in the case that Apple does deliver an iPad Pro in 2014, shipments will be limited, he added.

Overall, Kuo does not express much optimism for the iPad lineup in 2014. He believes iPad shipments will fall year-to-year in 2014, adding that the chances for a new iPad Mini model are "slim" in 2014.

MacRumors, quoting from the report, expands on this sentiment. Kuo characterizes the iPad Air as better-selling than the Mini in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models. We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9" iPad. As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9" iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air.

And the iWatch? Apple has prioritized development of the iWatch, leading Kuo to conclude that the company will deliver a smartwatch in 2014.

On another front, a report from ZDNet said Microsoft Office on iPad is alive and "coming sooner than most think."

Here's an excerpt from the report.

Office for iPad...isn't dead. In fact, it's likely to make it to market ahead of Microsoft's touch-first version of Office (codenamed "Gemini") ... it's likely to require some kind of Office 365 subscription (either corporate or Home Premium, depending on the use case)... [the] new date for Office for iPad is some time in the first half of calendar 2014.
A third, larger iPad-like device isn't certain in 2014, says long-time Apple analyst.
A third, larger iPad-like device isn't certain in 2014, says long-time Apple analyst. iPad mock-up: Brooke Crothers