16-inch iPad would be wonderful, but too expensive for consumers

16-inch iPad would be wonderful, but too expensive for consumers

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A report yesterday suggested that Apple has a 16-inch iPad in the works, which could be released late next year. It follows an earlier report of a 14-inch one.

Talk of larger iPads dates back several years, with 9to5Mac readers long expressing an interest in a model larger than the current 12.9-inch maximum …

When we ran a poll back in 2018, almost half of you thought Apple should make a larger model. Getting more specific last year, even more wanted either a 14- or 16-inch iPad.

Back when developer Steven Troughton-Smith made the case for a 14.9-inch iPad Pro, I said that I could see the appeal in a laptop-sized screen, and I feel the same way about a 16-inch one today.

12.9-inch once felt huge, now feels normal

I still remember how wowed I was by the screen when I tried the first-gen 12.9-inch model, back in 2015.

Reading a magazine in Magzster, for example, is just a joy. You don’t need to scroll or zoom on any page – it’s almost like holding the paper magazine in your hands. It’s beautiful. If you’re a magazine guy, and could afford to drop this kind of cash on the Pro, that’s almost enough reason right there.

iBooks too is just lovely. In landscape mode, you have the closest thing you’re ever going to get to holding the paper book in your hands.

Netflix is a joy to watch. For web browsing, portrait mode is just fantastic. Web pages start to feel like magazine or newspaper pages.

While I ultimately decided that the overall size and weight were too much for mobile use, I had to almost physically force myself to return the device.

The second-gen one instantly sold itself to me, and the thing that struck me most was not that the screen felt large, but rather that smaller ones suddenly felt cramped.

Many iPads are primarily used at home

Of course, a 16-inch one would significantly reduce portability. While my 12.9-inch one fits comfortably into any of my bags, a 16-inch one would require carrying one of the larger bags I use when carrying my MacBook Pro.

It would also be noticeably heavier, all the more so by the time you add a matching size Magic Keyboard.

But while Apple may have originally conceived the iPad as a mobile device, one thing I’ve noticed is how many people use theirs primarily at home. Mine sees mixed use, but I’d say about half of it is at home, so portability (or lack thereof) isn’t necessarily an issue.

It’s not a computer (sorry, Apple)

While Apple is right that an iPad with Magic Keyboard does somewhat blur the line between an iPad and a MacBook, I still view them as different classes of device. That may be as much to do with software as hardware, but for work, photo, and video editing, and other beefier tasks, my MacBook Pro is always going to be my tool of choice.

But that works both ways. For entertainment use, I prefer my iPad. That’s partly a matter of habit – I use my iPad for content consumption, and therefore it feels more relaxing to use – but also because I find it a better device for things like watching Netflix and casual web-browsing.

But the indications are it will be too expensive

Currently, Apple has retained the largest size for a Pro model, and I’d expect it to do so again here.

Indeed, the reports suggest that Apple will be positioning the 16-inch iPad at graphics professionals, with display analyst Ross Young suggesting that the 14-inch one would use the same high-end mini-LED display as the 12.9-inch one.

All of which is a way of saying that this will be an expensive device. If we extrapolate from the $300 difference between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch model, then we can expect at least $300 more for a 16-inch, maybe more than that.

Taking the 256GB model as a reasonable minimum spec, then we’d be looking at $1500+ for a Wi-Fi-only model, and $1,700+ for a cellular model. Add $400+ for a matching Magic Keyboard, and we’re talking $2K plus.

That’s a price that might be easily justified for a work device, and perhaps as a consumer one for hobbyist artists, for whom a large canvas might be well worth the premium. But as an entertainment device, that’s a lot of money!

If Apple does indeed launch it, and my pricing expectations are correct, I’m going to really, really want one – but I’m going to do my absolute best to resist. (And yes, my track record on this isn’t great.)

How about you? Could you see yourself spending $2K or more on a 16-inch iPad setup? If so, what justifies the cost for you? Please take our poll, and let us know in the comments.

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