An unnamed official at a local Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times by telephone that Apple's local first-tier display supplier is currently producing a 12.9-inch Retina display for a new "maxi" iPad slated to launch early next year, possibly in March. This panel is being manufactured by the supplier's plant in Korea, the source added.
Rumors of a larger iPad have been floating around for a while, and the device is supposedly part of Apple's goal of breaking from the pattern it created with the iPad and iPhone. Even the Wall Street Journal chimed in on the rumor bandwagon back in July, reporting that Apple was testing larger screens for iPhone and iPad devices, including a 13-inch prototype iPad, to reel in customers who are preferring the larger sizes.
"The 12.9-inch iPad will have improved picture quality. As the Apple partner intends to boost its lineup for displays that have almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, the upcoming iPad will provide very clear quality similar to that of UHD," said the official.
Earlier this month, Chinese-based Pad News claimed that longtime Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is currently testing a new, large-format iPad, supporting either a screen measuring 11.4 inches diagonally or a 12.9-inch screen. The site said the tablet is in an advanced stage of testing, and Apple plans to reveal the device in March.
Back in September, Chinese publication United Daily News claimed that Apple is actively working on a larger iPad that will be constructed by Taiwan-based Quanta, another one of Apple's manufacturing partners that produced the latest MacBook Air models along with the video iPod from 2006. Quanta is supposedly looking to diversify away from the thin-and-light laptop sector, as it's being eaten away by tablets.
Needless to say, the big iPad rumors have been blazing through the rumor mill over the last several months, and point to a March reveal. Even Barclays Equity Research told CNET that it believes a 13-inch iPad could be in the works as a replacement for laptops. Is Apple looking to replace the small laptop form factor with an iPad and a keyboard dock? That's what it's looking like so far.