Apple quietly unveil a new 9.7-inch iPad and PRODUCT(RED) iPhone edition

March 24, 2017 3 minute read

Apple quietly released an all-new iPad and iPhone edition on Monday, with the smartphone going on sale from today. Whilst Apple’s flagship smartphones see a new colour join the line-up, the iPad which debuted on the Apple store this week is a completely new device. Strange, then, that this device was added to their site without even a whisper of a launch beforehand. Where the iPad franchise has previously been showcased via headline events, this press release announcement went by almost unnoticed… Almost. What does this say about the importance of the iPad to Apple, and of the tablet market in general?

Apple iPad

Apple quietly unveiled their new iPad, now without the “Air” branding.

The new Apple iPad drops its “Air” branding and sees a $70 price drop in the US market, as well as welcoming a faster processor through its A9 chip and a brighter Retina display. Apple’s senior VP of marketing, Phil Schiller, noted the following in the company’s press release:

“New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”

Apple iPad Apps

Apple note that there’s over one million apps designed specifically for iPad.

The new iPad starts at just £339 for the 32GB wifi-only model, whilst the 128GB cellular-model comes in at £559; this demonstrates Apple’s intentions to split their tablet line-up into three – the high-end iPad Pro, mid-range iPad and cheaper iPad Mini. The device also sees it’s processor upgraded to an A9 chip, the chip used in iPhone 6S and iPhone SE. The powerful A9X chip seems to be reserved exclusively for the iPad Pro. Other than the device’s notable speed boost, the iPad displays most of the same features as its predecessor.

As CNET explains, this is the first time that Apple has unveiled a new iPad in such a low-key manner, highlighting the overall downturn in the tablet market. We’ve now seen global tablet sales drop for a ninth consecutive quarter, with Apple’s tablet sales decreasing across 12 straight quarters.

Recently, Samsung also announced new tablets to its range, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 – a 9.7” device running Google’s Android software – and two larger iterations of the Samsung Galaxy Book, which runs Microsoft’s Windows 10 software. Samsung’s announcement still made the main stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the purpose of the event seemed more about keeping momentum going in advance of their Samsung Galaxy S8 launch – scheduled for next Wednesday, March 29th.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung unveiled three new tablets at MWC 2017, including the Galaxy Tab S3

Their tablet announcement was also overpowered by the nostalgic note of Nokia’s 3310 revival. And if a mobile phone without smart-capabilities can overshadow a major tech company’s tablet unveiling, there’s much to be said about how integral tablets are in the current market. If you are in the market for a new tablet, however, you can shop the new Apple iPad on the Apple store today:

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