Rumors of a massive new iPad 16-inch model have me very excited, as a fan of a category I call Obnoxiously Large Mobile Devices. While others scoff, I greet the news with glee. I’m a huge sucker for massive screens, and I rejoice when I find my new toy is too big for every bag I own.
My first example is my old Apple Powerbook G4 17-inch laptop that I bought in 2003. I went to one of the first Apple Store locations in New York’s SoHo neighborhood to watch the product announcement and was completely dazzled by the humongous device. I took out a store loan to buy it because I was a high school English teacher, writing about tech freelance.
Every time I opened the Powerbook I would smile. The lid was huge and heavy, but once the LCD lit up and filled with color I was washed away by the ocean of pixels. In a time before VR glasses or big 60-inch TV sets, this was the closest I’d come to full immersion.
Of course, Apple currently makes a 16-inch Macbook Pro, but the $2500 machine is overpowered for my simple, personal needs (and my work isn’t stepping forward to buy me one).
A 16-inch iPad would be more expensive than you imagine
We don’t have a solid idea of how Apple may price a 16-inch iPad Pro, but we can be sure it will cost more than the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022), and likely it will be much more than all of the best iPads. Adding 3-inches of display to go from 13-inches to 16-inches adds significantly more screen area than you’d expect.
A 12.9-inch iPad screen has around 80 square inches of screen area. A 16-inch iPad screen would have over 122 square inches of screen space. That’s more than a 50% size increase to a component that is arguably the most expensive part.
I would not be surprised if a 16-inch iPad Pro, or iPad Ultra, or whatever it could be called, adds $1000 to the price over the iPad Pro 12.9. Sure, that puts it very close in price to the Macbook Pro 16-inch, but what the iPad lacks in a keyboard it makes up for in a touchscreen, plus all the mobile-specific tech the Macbook Pro lacks, like GPS and 5G cellular. It’s easy to imagine such a narrow price gap between them.
My favorite obnoxiously large device is a Samsung
This isn’t going to be an iPad I can afford, but it does remind me of a wonderful, stupendous, ludicrous device that Samsung sold years ago, the Galaxy View. I loved my 17-inch Powerbook, and I keep its defunct husk for my personal museum, but it wasn’t my favorite Obnoxiously Large Mobile. That title goes to my Galaxy View.
The Samsung Galaxy View will make you say “What?!” three times.
The View is a massive, 18.4-inch tablet that runs Android. It is so big that it has a handle, and it only works in landscape orientation. What!?
The Galaxy View has a permanently attached stand with a hinge. You can stand the View up like a TV or lie it down at an angle so you can type on the screen. However, the hinge is permanently curved and the View can never lie flat. What?!!?
I love the Galaxy View, my kid loves the Galaxy View, and everyone I know who owns a Galaxy View loves them. I love it so much that I bought one for myself while I was working for Samsung so that I could always have my own. I still use it regularly. What?!?!?!
It wasn’t expensive when I bought it because the product wasn’t very popular, so I picked one up for less than $400. It was one of the best purchases I’ve made. Now you can find them used for sky-high prices, but I wouldn’t buy one. There was a sequel, but I’m guessing it didn’t sell very well.
I want a mobile smart TV, not a tablet
I love the Galaxy View because it stands in for my large screen television in emergencies. I recently moved from the Washington, D.C. area to the New York City area and there were a few days on both ends of my move where my furniture consisted of a chair and large box. My TV was in storage, my game consoles packed away.
I set up my Galaxy View on my box and felt right at home. Sitting a few feet away, an 18.4-inch display takes up the same amount of my visual space as a big-screen television hanging on a wall. The Full HD picture isn’t very high resolution, but my shows still look great on the screen.
Best of all, it sits up and out of my way like a television, instead of being in my face and in my hands, like a phone or tablet screen. I can eat lunch and watch a show. I can pet two dogs at the same time while binge-watching Netflix. That’s something I can’t do if I’m holding an iPad or a phone.
The Galaxy View is also big and sturdy. It doesn’t feel like a flimsy iPad that will crack if you drop it or bend if you sit on it. You won’t sit on the Galaxy View, it takes up a whole seat. I’ve thrown it in carry-on luggage and taken it on a plane. It doesn’t quite fit on an airplane tray table, but it is a glorious addition to a hotel room.
Samsung, nobody needs a Galaxy Tab Ultra Ultra
If Apple launches a hyper-expensive, 16-inch iPad, then I hope Samsung sees the proper opportunity as a competitor. Samsung already makes an Android tablet with a large display that is sold as an ultra-premium tablet: the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It’s a 14.6-inch tablet, and it starts at around $1000 in the US. I don’t want an even bigger, even more expensive tablet from Samsung, and I suspect the market will agree.
What I want is for Samsung to simplify again. Give me a Galaxy View-type device to compete with a bigger iPad. If Apple goes to 16-inches, Samsung should go to 19-inches or more, but it should have the same focus as the Galaxy View – a big-TV replacement, not for up-close work.
A tablet like this could cut costs in a few ways. It would not need a 4K display. Even a Full HD resolution screen would be fine if it were OLED, though tech enthusiasts would predictably moan about the spec..
It would not need the fastest processors on board because it wouldn’t be handling 4K ProRes video editing, like a 16-inch iPad Pro would surely do. It wouldn’t even need S Pen support because it won’t be close enough to touch most of the time.
With the cost of living crisis, Samsung could aggressively counter an overpriced, overpowered 16-inch iPad Pro with a less-expensive Galaxy Tab in the vein of the legendary Galaxy View. I want to live with my big tablet for years, not pay for it.
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Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.