UPDATED 22:44 EDT / AUGUST 19 2015


New details of iPad Pro Apple stylus revealed as analyst predicts crazy sales of 4-5m in 2015

Apple’s forthcoming 12.9 inch iPad Pro could ship 4-5 million units this year according to one analyst, as further details on the Apple stylus set to be launched with the tablet have been confirmed.

According to reports, the long-rumored Apple stylus will be available for the new tablet although it will be offered as an optional accessory versus shipping by default with the iPad Pro.

The stylus is said to be being made exclusively by Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co. Ltd., and will take advantage of new iPad’s Force Touch-enabled screen.

KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo explains why:

With regard to the present technologies, we believe if the Force Touch module for iPad is designed using the same structure that was used in the iPhone, the larger size may result in a poor yield rate. This is why we think a stylus may be necessary to make Force Touch work properly on the 12.9” iPad. We also believe a Force Touch-enabled stylus will enhance productivity as it would offer more precise operation than using only fingers. Technically, we believe the stylus can be made compatible with iPad models other than the 12.9” version, but it depends on the support of software.

The prediction that it will be backwards compatible with previous models of the iPad is not completely surprising given a report last week that the next model of Apple’s smartphone, presumed to be called the iPhone 6S, is also being delivered with Force Touch with support for the very same Apple stylus that is launching along with the iPad Pro.

Crazy numbers

Where the KGI Securities analyst loses the plot is with a prediction that the new iPad Pro, expected to be unveiled September 9 along with new iPhones and a new model Apple TV, will ship 4-5 million units not over the next 12 months, but this year.

That prediction at a time that iPad sales are hitting a record low, shipping only 10.9 million units in the last quarter.

There’s a couple of variations on the theme as to why sales of the once hyped and popular iPad are not like they use to be, with one strong theory being that with smartphones continuing to grow in size (the line between phablet and smart is difficult to tell now) the need to own a separate tablet is no longer necessary.

While the use case for a tablet surely does diminish as smartphones get bigger, that ignores one significant factor when it comes to iPad sales: overall tablet sales in the market haven’t declined versus there being a decline for premium, high-priced tablets, and that trend applies just as much to Apple’s rival Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as it does to Apple.

As analyst Neil Cybart told Forbes August 16:

When the iPad Mini was released in November 2012, it was deemed one of the best tablets on the market. But consumers are more likely to buy a tablet based on price rather than how well it operates, and they’re often used for passive activities like watching videos and surfing the web instead of the “productivity and content creation tools Apple has been marketing”….

Cybart is skeptical that tablet users will upgrade a device that they’re just using to watch Netflix.

We don’t know yet how much Apple will charge for the iPad Pro, but with the top model in the existing range, the 10 inch iPad Air 2, selling for up to $829, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the iPad Pro could end up being sold for around $1,000.

Will it find a niche user base who appreciate the extra screen size? that’s probably a given, but it’s one thing to say it might sell 400,00-500,000 units this year (realistic,) versus 4-5 million units, which is just simply crazy given everything we know about the current state of the tablet market.

Image credit: lukew/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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