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Rumor: Apple’s Move to Offer 13-inch iPad?

While Apple most-recently went smaller with the iPad, moving down to a 7.9-inch display with the iPad mini, but it seems Apple will be moving in the opposite direction. The next device rumoured to be joining Apple’s lineup will be a supersized iPad, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple and its component suppliers in Asia are now testing larger iPad and iPhone screens.

There’s no telling if these purported large-screened iPads will ever make it to the market, but these reports suggest Apple is brainstorming new ways to appeal to consumers to expand its customer base with innovative new products and refinements of current ones.

“In the long run, we will see touch screens in all sizes as the future vision of the technology industry is to offer the same user experience across all screens,” said IDC analyst Helen Chiang. “The key is to bring down the cost and introduce compelling applications for large-screen devices.”

Apple’s move, if adopted, would fit into a broader trend among mobile-device makers. Here are the top 5 reasons why.

The Bigger the Retina, the Better
If the MacBook Pro with Retina has taught us anything, it’s that the larger the screen size available, the better. Everything just looks better on a larger Retina display. And it’s about time Apple acknowledges that.

Get Ahead of Competitors
While Apple is still the industry leader when it comes to tablet sales,  it would do Apple even well to launch the 13-inch iPad before the competition gets a chance.  Changing things up would allow Apple to show competitors that it’s willing to do what it takes to be successful.

It’s the Next Frontier
Looking at the tablet space, there isn’t much for companies to do other than increase screen sizes. Tablets need to be thin, and have prominent displays and small bezels. In other words, there isn’t much that can be done to the form factor. Increasing a display size, however, could be just what customers want.

The iPad Mini Is Too Close
One of the issues with Apple’s iPad line is that the company’s smaller tablet, the iPad Mini, is too close in size (and price) to the high-end tablet. That has caused some cannibalization in Apple’s product line. By launching a 13-inch tablet, Apple can get enough space between the devices to ensure it appeals to two very different customers.

Tablets Are Notebook Replacements
Tablets are increasingly becoming notebook replacements. However, the chief issue they have in achieving that mission is that their screens are a little small. By launching a 13-inch iPad, Apple can increase its chances of seeing its device replace notebooks at an even faster clip.

Of course, the prototype is far different than a release candidate. Apple tests new designs all the time, but only a small fraction of them make the cut. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.