Producers of iPhone Apple Inc are working on a new iPad Pro with wireless charging and a redesigned iPad Mini in an attempt to build upon momentum for a category that saw improved sales during the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
The company is looking to release the new iPad Pro in 2022 and the iPad Mini later this year, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The iPhone maker thrived through the COVID-19 pandemic as home-bound consumers stocked up on electronic devices, with iPad sales notching a better-than-expected $7.8 billion last quarter.
The company is planning narrower screen borders for the new iPad Mini and also looking at removing its home button, according to the report.
The iPad became an increasingly key part of Apple’s portfolio over the past year as people looked for new ways to work, study and stay entertained at home during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Sales of iPads jumped 43% during the last six months of 2020 compared with a year earlier. The gains continued in the first three months of 2021 when the tablets generated $7.8 billion — a 79% increase from the same quarter a year earlier.
iPad assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. erased losses after Bloomberg’s report Friday, closing 0.9% up in Taipei. Rival BYD Electronic International Co. climbed as much as 6.2% in Hong Kong. Apple shares rose as much as 2% Friday in New York.
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For the new Pro model, the switch to a glass back is being tested, in part, to enable wireless charging for the first time.
Making the change in material would bring iPads closer to iPhones, which Apple has transitioned from aluminum to glass backs in recent years.
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Apple’s development work on the new iPad Pro is still early, and the company’s plans could change or be canceled before next year’s launch, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.