Taiwanese news outlets have been a boundless source of Apple gossip for the best part of a decade.
But even by their own usually outlandish standards, today’s gossip emanating from the island’s Economic Daily News about Cupertino is planning on killing off the iPad mini in 2015, and replacing it with the more capacious iPad Pro, seems far fetched.
At least, that is, on the surface. But stand back and consider the evidence and it doesn’t appear as out there as you might think.
For starters, iPad sales are still on the slide. From July to September, Apple sold 12.3 million tablets, down from 14.1 million in the same period last year.
That number followed on from a sales drop in the second quarter of 2014 and comes as new IDC figures show iPad sales have dropped 13% in the past 12 months.
Apple doesn’t break these numbers down by model, but suggestions are that the iPad mini is suffering more than the more capacious iPad Air.
That seems likely seeing as budget models such as the Tesco Hudl and last year’s Nexus 7 offer the same screen size at a knockdown price.
Throw in the fact that Apple only offered the most cursory of updates with the latest iPad mini, only adding a Touch ID module, and you can see why sources might be claiming that the smaller slate is scheduled for the chop.
Apple quietly killed off its iPod Classic in September after years of neglect.
Its iPod touch and iPod nano are also being edged towards the exit after years without even a boost in storage space.
The sources suggested that with the arrival of the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple was concerned it was offering too many devices in different sizes.
The fact is, the iPhone 6 Plus is a perfectly serviceable tablet that (just about) first in your pocket.
Chuck in the fact it has phone functionality as well and you can see why it would be preferable to a smaller slate.
Whether replacing it with a large iPad Pro is the best course of action remains to be seen.
A tablet with a 12.2–inch screen that would probably cost the same or more than a MacBook Air seems like an even more niche proposition than the iPad mini.
But its professional uses in presentations and in terms of portability, plus beefed up security via Touch ID, may mean that corporations are willing to buy in bulk. If Apple can push this angle, then killing off the iPad mini actually seems like a no brainer.
If it can’t compete with the ‘pile ‘em high’ brigade in the budget sector, then why not look elsewhere for ways of making more cash?
Those rumours don't seems so far fetched now.