That rumored 'iPad Pro' could be more than just a big iPad

Looking ahead to 2014, reports are piling up about a larger iPad. One analyst speculates on what Apple could be planning.

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
iPad Air with a keyboard from Zagg.
iPad Air with a keyboard from Zagg. Zagg

If supply chain and analyst chatter is accurate, the rumored "iPad Pro" could marry the MacBook Air with the iPad.

That's what Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang thinks, according to a report at Barron's.

Arriving in fall '14, Apple goes Enterprise with an 12" iPad. Powered by the A8 chip...this expands ARM's reach and, once again, transforms the traditional notebook market as we know it.

Expect a 2-1 hybrid -- think iPad + MBA -- similar to how most iPads are used in the workplace and in the same spirit of MSFT's Surface.

That he thinks Apple would try to, more or less, emulate Wintel's (Microsoft-Intel's) current 2-in-1 laptop-plus-tablet strategy for enterprise (corporate) customers is telling.

And he cites Microsoft's Surface, no less, as an example.

But the thrust of Wang's comments in the Barron's report are centered on the threat to Intel. Along with the arrival of the new hybrid, will come Apple's new "quad-core" A8 processor, he said.

"This would hit Intel in an area of strength -- enterprise [laptops]," he wrote, impacting Intel's business model.

Evercore's bill of materials chart shows the cost of a processor in the high-end iPad Air (128GB) coming to only 4 percent of the total. In stark contrast to the iPad Air, the MacBook Air's Intel chip claims 22 percent of the cost.

Of course, this is all just speculation, but it's food for thought as reports roll in -- including one from the Wall Street Journal -- pointing to a larger iPad.