Opinion

How trustworthy are the iPhone Pro blueprints from Mac Fan?

iPhone 6 concept based on Mac Fan blueprints, credit: Nowhereelse.fr
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Earlier today we posted blueprints that claim to show the design of the iPhone Pro. This design may look great, or you may think it looks horrendous. Before we jump to any conclusions about what Apple is working on, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on Mac Fan‘s credibility by looking at other blueprints they leaked for rumored products.

iPad Pro Blueprints

Nearly a year before the iPad Pro was announced, the Japanese magazine posted blueprints for the new tablet. It showed the basic features of any Apple product: Lock button, Touch ID Home button, Lightning connector, etc. and two features never-before-seen on any device. The iPad would come in a 12.9″ display size and have dual-stereo speakers. The blueprint suggested that Apple was planning to release a new product in 2015 that would have a much larger display, four speakers, and be an iPad. This happened, except the blueprints did not show the Smart Connector which was part of the final design. This connector allows the iPad to connect to accessories, like Apple’s Smart Keyboard, without any additional wires. The report that came out with the blueprint called the tablet the “iPad Air Plus.” Apple went in a different direction by using the name “Pro” and dropped the “Air” name from their lineup.

iPad Pro blueprints

Blueprints for the iPad Pro, leaked by Mac Fan

iPhone 6 Blueprints

The second blueprint we see from Mac Fan showed off the rumored iPhone 6. This was posted about seven months before the iPhone 6 came out and it claimed the phone would be available in two screen sizes (4.7″ and 5.7″), only the larger phone would have a rear protruding camera, and there were no visible antenna lines on the back. The actual iPhone 6 did come out in two screen sizes, but they were 4.7″ and 5.5″ and both models have the rear protruding camera. Additionally, the design on the rear shell was slightly off since there are antenna lines going across the back. Nowherelse.fr actually designed a concept for the iPhone 6 based off these blueprints, which is the featured image for this post, and they are quite different from the actual iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 blueprints

Blueprints for the iPhone 6, leaked by Mac Fan

 

How trustworthy are the blueprints from Mac Fan?

This leads us to believe that while Mac Fan is mostly accurate in their blueprints, they are not complete. There may be differences in the final design, whether it is the screen size or some other components added/missing, that we do not see in the blueprints. They give us a relative design for the phone, but by no means, is this the truth showing the design for the device. The iPhone Pro, as they call it, may be named something else, the dual-camera may not be true, the Smart Connector may not be correct (we think it is) or the camera(s) may not be protruding. We need solid evidence, like an iPhone Pro that turns on, before we will start accepting this design as truth.

KGI: Apple Watch shipments to decline this year (not surprisingly)

Apple Watch
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Earlier this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo released a report about the Apple Watch’s declining  shipments. The note, which was obtained by 9to5Mac, claims that shipments will decrease by as much as 25% this year from 10.6M units in 2015 to 7.5M units in 2016.

Kuo claims that one cause for this decline is likely because the Apple Watch is not where it should be. The device still is dependent upon the iPhone for complete functionality, the battery life is limited, form factor is quite thick, and there is not enough difference between the models. There are three models (four if you count the Hermes line), for the Apple Watch with differences in case materials, bands, and prices. The Apple Watch Sport starts at $299 while the Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000. The aluminum to 18-karat gold case material and bands are not enough to justify the massive price difference.

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, agrees saying that the bands are the only difference between the Apple Watch models. While some of the bands can be purchased separately, some the higher-end bands like the white Sport band with rose gold pin are exclusive to the Apple Watch Edition line. The Apple Watch models look identical on the inside with the same battery capacity, same dependence on the iPhone, and the same form factor.

Apple Watch personalization

The Apple Watch Sport rose gold with the white Sport band, Apple.com

Apple needs to create some differentiation between the models. If a customer is paying $10,000 for the same Apple Watch as a customer who bought one for $299, there is a problem. With the higher price point, there should be increased functionality. Perhaps a camera, slimmer design, and at the very least, more personalization. One road Apple could go down is to allow customers who want to pay that much for their watch is to select the case material, band, colors, and watch face first instead of buying something Apple selected themselves and boxed up months ago. This would create much more customization and personalization. For example, a customer could select the Apple Watch Edition in rose gold with a black Sports band with rose gold pin and the Mickey Mouse watch face. Their device could be ready-to-use right out of the box. For that price, Apple should create something much more personal.

The end of Kuo’s note suggested an updated ‘S model‘ is coming out this year with a revamped design not expected until 2017.




Why were the iPhone SE rumors wrong?

iphonesearray-800x620
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When Apple announced the iPhone SE a little over two weeks ago, we were slightly disappointed that the rumors for the design did not meet what Apple had revealed to us. The iPhone SE looks absolutely identical to the iPhone 5s, enough to even use the same parts as the iPhone 5s. The only major change we see in terms of design is the rose gold color, but everything else is the same. There is circular volume controls, the pill-shaped dual-LED flash, headphone jack on the bottom with the speaker and microphone grill and aluminum/glass rear shell. So why were the rumors wrong, and more importantly, why was the iPhone SE not leaked?

iPhone se design

The iPhone SE has the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and NFC chip for Apple Pay.

Every report we wrote from the time the iPhone was first rumored to late February, we said the iPhone SE (or iPhone 6c, iPhone 7c, iPhone 5e, iPhone 5se) would be a hybrid device of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. The internal specifications would match the iPhone 6s, while the exterior design will be identical to the iPhone 6. We, however, were not the only blog to believe this. Numerous reports and mockups came out showing the 4-inch iPhone with the same design as the iPhone 6. We even saw a “leaked phone” at least twice…so what happened?

iPhone se design

iPhone SE leaked??, no. credit: One More Thing

I have a theory as to why the rumors were wrong, but what it comes down to is the design that Apple chose. They went with an old design, one that we have seen for years. When supply chains saw this phone from its display to its rear shell, many likely believed it was for the iPhone 5s. The rumors suggested a completely different design so why would the supply chain focus on an old design like this? Apple was able to build the iPhone SE in front of everyone without being noticed. This explains why the iPhone SE was not leaked because it did not look like a “new” iPhone. This also explains why the rumors were wrong. We did not think that Apple would go back to relive an old design on a new model, so we saw what we wanted to see. We wanted a miniature iPhone 6s and conveniently, that is what we got.

As for the “leaked” phones, there is a reason they were never shown turned on. They were fake. They matched the rumors because they were based off the rumors.

Forbes proposes Apple Watch Upgrade Program

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.56.11 AM
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One of the biggest questions we have with the rumored Apple Watch 2 is that how many people are expected to buy it. More importantly, how many people are going to sell their first-generation Apple Watch that they spent $1,000 to $16,000 on to get a smartwatch with the latest hardware.

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The question around the upgrade cycle for the smartwatch has puzzled a few people since they are not like a smartphone or a tablet. Smartphones get upgraded every year or every other year since they are subsidized and we are never paying full price for the phone (at least not upfront.) While tablets are upgraded every few years since they carry a higher price tag and are more like laptops (especially the new iPad Pro). Many people still swear by the iPad 2 and use it every day even though it was released nearly five years ago.

An interesting article came out on Forbes that suggests Apple should bring their iPhone Upgrade Program, which lets users upgrade the latest iPhone on a yearly basis, to the Apple Watch. This program, called the Apple Watch Upgrade Program, would spread the cost of the watch over twenty four months and allow users to have the newest Apple Watch every year. When the new model comes out, users can trade in their “old” Apple Watch to get the new one and sign up for a new program. Apple will definitely benefit from this as they will now have a one-year old watch in great condition that they can refurbish to resell. Plus, like the iPhones, the devices in their program come with AppleCare+ which keeps repairs in-house.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.02.23 PM

This idea, which was first suggested by Forbes writer Ewan Spence, would help to fix the upgrade problem for the Apple Watch. Every year a new watch comes out, users will be able to upgrade regardless of the amount they spent on the previous model. They can spread the cost over twenty-four months (so that 18-karat Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition is $770/month instead of $18,500 up front) and every model comes with AppleCare+.

Source: Forbes

What the previous iPhone generations say about the iPhone 7, iPhone 7s and more

tim-cook-iphone-6-keynote
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With the iPhone 6s announcement and release date fast approaching, we took some time to reflect on the previous released iPhones and what this tells us about the future. When a numbered iPhone is released, like the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6, there’s always a new design. Apple changes the rear panel, front panel, updates the internal components and more. When an S-series phone is released, like the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5s, the design is the same, but there’s always one flagship feature that makes it stand out above the rest. So every year we switch back-and-forth between a new design and a new feature that redefines everything.

tim-cook-iphone-6-keynote

The iPhone 2G, which was the first generation iPhone, came out in June 2007 with revolutionary touchscreen, music player and had standard apps that allowed users to read mail, connect to the Internet and more. It was a brand new smartphone that changed every phone available on the market. The rear panel had a mostly aluminum back with a small plastic panel on the bottom. It’s successor, the iPhone 3G, was the first redesign to the iPhone lineup (granted it was only the second generation, but it was still a redesign). It dropped the metal and plastic rear shell for an all-plastic design. The phone became thinner, buttons changed and it was easier to open up for repair. After this, we saw the similarly designed iPhone 3GS, which was the first S-series iPhone. Although there was other changes to the phone, the flagship feature was the digital compass. This was a unique feature because it added more GPS capabilities to the iPhone and it paved the way for turn-by-turn directions and more which would come out in the next few years.

iPhone 2G vs. iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 4

iPhone 2G vs. iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 4

The next-generation iPhone, which was Steve Jobs last iPhone, was the iPhone 4. This, as expected, had a complete redesign. Apple dropped the plastic rear panel for a glass rear panel, stretched the silver ring around the front of the phone to be the frame of the phone which incorporated the antennas in it. The phone also became thinner and got a new internal design with updates. The iPhone 4S came out a year later in October 2011 with our favorite digital assistant, Siri. The phone looked the same as the iPhone 4, but now the phone could talk to you and tell you about the weather, your calendar, open apps and more.

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c

The iPhone 5 succeeded the iPhone 4S in September of 2012 with a complete redesign and larger display. The rear panel changed from the all-glass design to mostly metal and partially glass design. The phone also became thinner and a lot lighter. The iPhone 5s was released a year later alongside the iPhone 5c, which was the first year Apple had released two iPhones together. The iPhone 5s featured the same design as the iPhone 5 with a few updates, most notably being the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The iPhone 5c replaced the iPhone 5 to become the less expensive alternative to the iPhone 5s and allowed Apple to reach more markets that previously couldn’t get an iPhone. The iPhone 5c doesn’t fit into our story since it’s not one of Apple’s flagship phones, but we anticipate that it will have it’s own story once the iPhone 6c is released next month.

iPhone 6 Plus vs. iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus vs. iPhone 6

This now brings us to the iPhone 6, which was released in September 2014 and came with an all-new design. The rear panel changed again to all metal, the phone became larger, thinner, lighter and had a protruding camera. It came out with the much larger iPhone 6 Plus that shares a few features with the iPad. The iPhone 6s is expected to come out next month with the Apple Watch’s Force Touch display, which will be its flagship feature. The phone will also follow the same pattern as the other S-series phones by having the same external design and receiving internal updates.

The next phone to be released (after the iPhone 6s), which will happen in 2016, will be the iPhone 7. Then we will see the iPhone 7s, iPhone 8, iPhone 8s, iPhone 9, iPhone 9s, iPhone 10, etc. with a new one every year. Assuming Apple continues with the pattern they have held for the past 8 years, every numbered generation will have a complete redesign and every S-series will see a flagship feature that will revolutionize it. So the iPhone 7 will redesign the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 8 will redesign the iPhone 7, etc. The iPhone 7s, iPhone 8s, iPhone 9s, etc. will have one standout feature with the same design as its predecessor.

Touch ID in display concept

Touch ID in display concept

While we have no idea what Apple has in store for the iPhone 7 or any other numbered generations, besides the standard redesigns, we can start to predict what we will see on the S-series. For the iPhone 7s, we imagine seeing the Touch ID sensor incorporated into the iPhone’s display. If the rumors are true about Force Touch display differentiating between a small finger pad (i.e. top of the finger) and a large finger pad (i.e. the entire finger) for the iPhone 6s and that Apple is seriously looking into adding Touch ID to the display, then it only makes sense for Touch ID to make its way from the Home button to the display. As for the iPhone 8s, it may have a revolutionary touchscreen that goes beyond Force Touch. Perhaps a second or third sensor will make its way into the phone so it will differentiate between more than just a tap and a deep press. We may also see the headphone jack disappear in favor of Bluetooth or Lightning-powered headphones, wireless charging replace the Lightning connector and a significantly smarter Siri that can do more than just help us with basic tasks.

Whatever happens with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 7s or iPhone 8; we will be right here to share it with you.

Could the new iPod touch colors be a preview for the iPhone 6s?

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Here’s an insanely crazy idea that was inspired by the new iPod lineup: What if the new colors are just a preview of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Theorize with us for a minute. The iPod lineup colors are now space gray, silver, gold, pink and blue. Apple retired the other colors for iPods, like green, purple and yellow, in favor of these five. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that three of these five colors are already available on the iPhone?

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 11.06.23 AM

For the first quarter of 2015, a rumor suggested that Apple would be releasing a 4-inch iPhone alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the fall. It was thought to be the second generation iPhone 5c, likely called the “iPhone 6c.”  However, KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo wrote a note to investors in April saying that Apple would be holding off the release of this 4-inch iPhone until 2016. Then, a new report surfaced in late June suggesting the rumored 4-inch iPhone would have an aluminum case instead of the iPhone 5c’s plastic case and that it’s coming soon. Well isn’t a 4-inch iPhone with an aluminum case already called the iPhone 5s or the iPhone 5? So pretty much the rumor mill is suggesting that Apple will come out with the iPhone 5s again. And since they use older technology in their cheaper phones, why do anything to the iPhone 5s? Just keep it on the market.

The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have also been rumored to come in pink aluminum with a white front, which reminds me of the new pink iPod touch. If Apple is expanding the iPhone lineup to include pink, what’s to stop them from including blue too? I mean, at this point, they would have four of the five iPod lineup colors taken care of (space gray, silver, gold and pink). Why not blue?

How the iPhone 6s would look with a pink aluminum shell

Anyway, the evidence is starting to pile up in favor of new colored iPhones. Whether it’s the iPhone 6s or the iPhone 6c, we expect to see new colors come September.

9 features we want to see in iOS 9

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The ninth generation operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is expected to be announced at the WWDC keynote on Monday. The update will mostly come with bug fixes and improvements, but there will also be a few other features like an updated keyboard layout, colorful Siri interface and new Home app. In spite of what we have heard, we have some things we would like to see in the new operating system.

Customizable Control Center

Jailbroken iPhone with a customizable Control Center

Jailbroken iPhone with a customizable Control Center

The Control Center is the menu that comes up from the bottom of the display and has buttons on it for many common functions: Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, Clock, Flashlight, etc. In iOS 9, we would love to see customization for this so we can switch out and reorder the buttons. Instead of the Calculator icon, I would love to add one of Apple’s stock apps or a third-party app like Spotify.

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“Hey, Siri”

siri-ios-8

We love using the “Hey Siri” feature, but since it’s limited to when the iPhone is being charged, we don’t use it that often. Thanks to the powerful battery in the iPhone 6 Plus, I only charge my phone at night when I’m asleep so I’m not able to say “Hey Siri.” On a recent iOS 8 beta there was a bug on the iPad that allowed Siri to be accessed with those special keywords without being plugged in. I would love for Apple to allow the option of Siri always listening instead of just when the phone is plugged in.

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Night Mode

credit: iTeck-Concept

credit: iTeck-Concept

With iOS 7, Apple introduced more white space into their apps, which is great unless you are using your iPhone at night. To enable a “Night Mode”, you can turn on inverted colors which turns the whites into blacks and vice versa, but all the colors are also their complete opposites. We would love to view apps with a darker hue to them so it’s easier to use the iPhone at night.

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Clear All Apps in App Switcher

credit: 9to5Mac

credit: 9to5Mac

When the iPhone 6s with Force Touch comes out in September, this would be a perfect time for Apple to add the ability to clear all apps in the App Switcher. We have theorized before that a simple tap/swipe could delete an app, while a deep press could delete all the apps. This function, although, would be limited to devices with the Force Touch.

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Reachability

credit: iTeck-Concept

credit: iTeck-Concept

Reachability is a feature that Apple introduced with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus so the buttons at the top of apps can be accessed with one hand on the large display. When Reachability is turned on, the app slides halfway down the display leaving the top open. Apple should take advantage of this empty space by turning Reachability into Multitasking. They could either allow a second app to be added to the space or have widgets added (like the picture above).

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Settings Search

credit: Theodory Channel, YouTube

credit: Ralph Theodory, YouTube

On the Mac, there’s a search bar for Settings so if you are looking for something specific, like enabling the dark menus, you can find it. (By the way, that’s in the General section). On iPhone, it would be great to have a search bar so you can look for specific settings.

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Do Not Disturb

credit: iPhoneTricks

credit: iPhoneTricks

On the Apple Watch, you can cover the display when receiving a notification to silence it. The iPhone should have something similar when turning on Do Not Disturb. When you’re studying or doing work, Do Not Disturb could be automatically turned on by placing the iPhone screen-first on a table or other flat surface.

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Notification Center Widgets

World clocks work on the Mac so why not the iPhone?

World clocks work on the Mac so why not the iPhone?

Apple should create more widgets for the apps they already have on the iPhone. The Clock app could have a stopwatch button or a world clock always present in Notification Center, Maps could always have a mini-map of your current location, Messages/Phone could store icons for your Favorites, Mail could have a new email icon, etc. This would work in conjunction with the customizable Control Center since many of these shortcuts are already found there.

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More Dynamic Wallpapers

We've seen the same dynamic wallpapers for the last 2 years....

We’ve seen the same dynamic wallpapers for the last 2 years….

Dynamic, or moving, wallpapers were introduced alongside of iOS 7, but have yet to be updated. They are dated, we see the same basic colors and they really need to be updated. Hopefully we will see some additions with iOS 9.

The WWDC Keynote should be amazing even if Apple decides not to update iOS 9 with any of these amazing features.

Top 5 coolest Apple Watch features I'm excited about

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During the Spring Forward event earlier this month, Apple demoed a few features of the Apple Watch. They showed off a few of their built-in features and a few third-party apps. After watching the event, I came up with the following five features that I am thoroughly excited to try out on the Apple Watch. These might even convince you to buy the watch!

1. Phone Calls

credit: Apple.com

I have to say that the number one feature that I am most excited about is the ability use the Apple Watch as your phone. The built-in speaker and microphone work with your iPhone to receive calls on the Apple Watch. Calls can be transferred to the iPhone and incoming calls can be muted by covering the watch with your hand as well.

(more…)

New report's pictures of iPad Pro prototype reveal actual design

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A promising article on a Dutch Apple blog was posted Sunday that claimed to have pictures of a prototype for the iPad Pro. The source of these pictures was an “anonymous source with connections at Apple.”  After viewing the post, 9to5Mac and even the own author concluded that the pictures were not real. They don’t exactly match up to the previously leaked images that we have seen: alleged rendering taken from inside Foxconn and leaked schematics. They do, however, match up to something else.

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Left side of the fake iPad Pro prototype

Even though two blogs have confirmed that these images do not show a real iPad Pro, let’s theorize for a second on the design. The top image shows an iPad with elongated volume controls, a microphone next to the camera and the Lock button on top. The image below shows the iPad with a Lightning charge port on the right side (or the left if you are holding the tablet with screen facing you).

Here we have the right side of the fake iPad Pro prototype

Right side of the fake iPad Pro prototype

This design looks awfully similar to another leaked image that we saw recently. The image below, which shows an alleged iPad Pro case, has a hole on the left side too. This could lead us to theorize that the hole in the case is for the Lightning charge port.

Credit: Nowhereelse.fr

Credit: Nowhereelse.fr

Based on what we have seen so far, I conclude that the fake iPad Pro prototype was likely the basis for the design of the above case. So if the prototype isn’t real, we can say that the above case isn’t real also. The case and prototype contradict leaked schematics we saw in late November that show the “2015 iPad” without a second Lightning charge port. These schematics correlate with a rendering we have also seen (see both below). They share a few similarities: recessed volume controls, nine speaker holes and a microphone above the volume controls.  The fake iPad Pro prototype shows only five speaker holes and no microphone above the volume controls. We can further theorize that the rendering and leaked schematics show the same tablet, likely the real design for the iPad Pro, while the case and prototype show a different tablet with a design Apple chose not to pursue.

Rendering of the iPad Pro taken from inside of Foxconn

Rendering of the iPad Pro taken from inside of Foxconn

Schematics for the iPad Pro

Schematics for the iPad Pro

Report says iPad mini to be discontinued next year

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Following Apple’s October 16th event, we posted about why the iPad mini 3 received little to no updates while the iPad Air 2 completely changed. One theory was because the iPad mini no longer has a place in the market with the iPhone 6 Plus (5.5″ display) and the iPad Air (9.7″ display.)  Apple won’t be able to make the iPhone any larger without cutting into iPad mini (7.9″ display) sales. A new report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily says that Apple may be looking to discontinue the iPad mini as early as next year.

iPhone 6 Plus sitting on an iPad mini

iPhone 6 Plus sitting on an iPad mini

In addition to the screen size of the iPhone 6 Plus, the report claims that Apple is considering this decision because of declining iPad sales and “fierce competition” in the market.  The iPhone 6 Plus costs $749 for the 16GB model on a 2-year contract while the 16GB iPad mini 3 is $399.  A price difference of $350 is huge in terms of profits for Apple.  The customer who buys an iPhone will likely upgrade to the newest iPhone every two years while some customers may keep the iPad for years.  For a perfect example, I buy a new iPhone every two years and I’ve had my iPad 3 since it was released in March of 2012.  It runs iOS 8 so I don’t plan on replacing it any time soon.

The report goes on to say that Apple may be looking into focusing its resources on the iPad Pro instead of the iPad mini.  This would allow the next-generation iPhones to get larger display without competing for sales and the iPads might be the perfect medium between the smartphone and the laptop.  Apple’s lineup would consist of three iPhones (one with a 4″ display, 4.7″ display and 5.5″ display), two iPads (one with a 9.7″ display and rumored 12.2″ display) and their MacBooks (which start with a 11″ display.)

It is difficult to determine the truth behind this report, but it does make sense for Apple to discontinue the iPad mini.  After this past year of only changing a few minor details, Apple may be getting a feel for an iPad mini-less world.