Apple Rumors: Is This The 12.2-Inch iPad Air Plus? Is The iPad Mini 3 Already Being Discontinued?

Apple doesn’t look to be taking its foot off the accelerator with regard to its lead in the tablet segment, but is a rumored “pro” version of the iPad Air really the best way for Apple to go? Plus, is Apple going to kill off the iPad mini 3 after just one year?

Apple currently maintains a stranglehold on the tablet segment, as its iPads are essentially the only devices that are actually turning a profit. Apple may be on the verge of extending its lead in that segment, though, as a new report says that the long-rumored iPad Pro is on its way soon. A supposedly leaked schematic from Japanese magazine Mac Fan (h/t: 9to5Mac) shows what appears to be a 12-inch iPad model, which the magazine says Apple will call the iPad Air Plus.

A larger-screened iPad model has been rumored for quite some time, and some sites expected that Apple would roll out the new iPad model earlier this year when it showed off its new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Instead, the latest reports have Apple waiting until April or June to launch the new iPad Air Plus.

Details on the supposed new iPad model are slim, but it is thought to have a screen size somewhere between 12 and 12.9 inches. That would put the iPad Air Plus somewhere near the footprint of a small notebook computer, though it would still likely be as thin as Apple’s existing iPad Air.

ipad air plus mini
Apple could be on the verge of introducing a new iPad model, the iPad Air Plus, to go alongside the iPad Air and iPad mini.

Inside, the iPad Air Plus would supposedly sport four speakers, offering users stereo sound in any direction. Perhaps biggest of all, the device could see the introduction of the A9 processor, which would definitely mark a first for Apple, as the new Ax processors tend to debut with each year’s new iPhone model.

Also contained in the new report is word that Apple will soon be discontinuing the iPad mini 3, which debuted just recently alongside the iPad Air 2. Unlike the iPad Air 2, which got a new processor to go along with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the iPad mini 3 didn’t see any major improvements when it was introduced this year. Instead, the iPad mini 3 simply got the Touch ID fingerprint sensor added on, but the newest iPad mini kept the same processor, screen resolution, and form factor as its iPad mini predecessors.

That fact led some commentators to say that it wasn’t worth it to pick up the new iPad mini this year, but Apple may be preparing to discontinue the device anyway, if rumors are to be believed. When Apple introduces the iPad mini 3’s successor, word has it that the tech giant will not keep the previous generation around at a lower price. Instead, Apple may drop the iPad mini 3 entirely and offer only the iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 2.

Just what would this iPad mini 4 have in terms of specifications? Word has it that Apple would bring the iPad mini to feature parity with the current iPad Air 2. The new iPad mini would have an A8X processor, as well as the thinner design of the iPad Air 2.

What’s not known, though, is whether Apple would introduce the new iPad mini alongside the rumored iPad Air Plus in the second quarter of next year or wait the full year before introducing the iPad mini 4.

[Lead image via MacRumors]