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Is Apple prepping an iPad Pro with stylus support?

An analyst has stated that Apple is highly likely to launch its next iPad, a 12.9-inch ‘Pro’ model, with an optional stylus.

Ming-chi Kuo, of KGI Securities, has made a decent number of predictions in the past which have come to fruition, such as the gold colour option in newer Apple phones, the A8 processor and the TouchID fingerprint technology, as such his words on rumoured Apple tech tend to carry a little weight.

Kuo is predicting that Apple will be releasing an ‘iPad Pro’, complete with a 12.9-inch display, and will offer the aforementioned stylus as an optional extra. It’s suggested that the accessory will be sold separately in a move to keep the cost to the end user down, given the fact that the big-screened iPad is likely to be pretty pricey to begin with.

He said “We don’t foresee significant sales of an optional stylus in 2015 and forecast unit shipments of 2-2.5 million, but we believe that the stylus could improve the experience of users, however, and will likely help Apple develop specific customer groups such as the corporate sector and educational institutions.”

One thing that Kuo has omitted to predict is whether the stylus will be compatible with older models of iPad, but it’s suggested that the accessory will be charged via Apple’s patented Lightning cable as wireless charging would incur additional cost in terms of development and antennae design.

It’s interesting to see Apple taking this turn, if indeed the rumours turn out to be true, given the notorious quote from ex-CEO Steve Jobs. When quizzed on the likelihood of a task manager for iOS 4 he replied “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it…Users shouldn’t ever have to think about it.”.

There are a number of tablets on the market at the moment which offer input via stylus, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which will probably be the closest competitor of any business-centric tablet that Apple releases. However, it seems unusual for Apple, a company which usually bangs its own drum in terms of design and innovation, to be seen following the herd – though the recent decision to launch larger screen smartphones shows a softening at boardroom level in that respect.

Of course, there’s every chance that Kuo could be incorrect this time, especially as the report is based on his research and patents filed by Apple, rather than hard evidence from the supply chain, but given his accuracy in the past and Apple’s recent foray into larger devices, like the iPhone 6 Plus, we wouldn’t be surprised if an ‘iStylus’ did make an appearance in the second half of 2015.

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