Update (Jan 10): There may be more to this rumor than we thought, as one of Apple's supply partners has just adapted its factory to make 15-inch OLED displays.
Part wish fulfillment, part follow-up from a previous report, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that Apple could be working on a larger iPad Pro. And he believes that Apple could make a big splash in a smart home display market currently dominated by Echo Show devices and Google Nest Hubs.
Back in June Gurman reported: "I’m told that Apple has engineers and designers exploring larger iPads that could hit stores a couple of years down the road at the earliest."
So what's the current story about? In Gurman's Power On newsletter, he discusses how Apple could make a strong rival to new devices like the Echo Show 15. In our Echo Show 15 review, we appreciated the ability to wall mount the device, and the large display with helpful widgets and Visual ID feature for showing personalized content for different members of the family.
However, the Echo Show 15 isn't perfect, as it offers mediocre audio and its camera quality isn't great. Gurman envisions a 15-inch iPad with a thinner design than the Echo Show 15 but with more powerful speakers. Apple could also add a software layer called Home mode that sits atop iPadOS, which would make it easier to control the best smart home devices and perform other tasks.
The new large-screen iPad would likely have other advantages over the Echo Show 15, including a faster processor and more advanced cameras. And if you could take this device with you, a 15-inch or larger iPad could double as a laptop replacement.
Gurman mentions a couple of caveats here. One is price, as the iPad Pro 12.9-inch starts at $1,099. So a 15-inch version could be considerably more expensive. The second trade-off is that Siri still lags behind Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of understanding queries, speed and overall capabilities.
Still, it's tantalizing to think what Apple could do with a larger screen iPad, even if it's not coming next year. In the meantime, check out our best tablets list to see what's worth buying now and our Apple in 2022 guide for the products we definitely expect.