While the world waits for the iPhone 6 and iWatch to be announced on September 9th, the supply chain is gearing up production for the next-generation iPad Air, according to the DigiTimes. The Taiwanese trade publication said "touch panel makers TPK and GIS are among some of the makers receiving orders from Apple," and that the iPad Air 2 "will remain unchanged in terms of size and resolution," but it will be "thinner". Previous leaks of purported iPad Air parts have also revealed that the new tablet will not feature any cosmetic changes worth getting excited about.
The iPad Air 2 is also expected to ship with the an improved version of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone 5s. What "improved" means is still unknown at this time, but you can bet Apple will be pushing its Touch ID technology even harder after the alleged iCloud breach.
The French blog NowhereElse.fr has published higher quality images of an alleged iPad Air 2 rear shell. The images reveal the same changes, like a relocated microphone hole, as previous leaks. You can get a closer look at the image here.
It has pretty much been officially confirmed that Apple will announced two larger iPhone 6 models on September 9, but it is unclear when the next-generation iPad lineup will be revealed. Most people believe Apple will announce the iPad Air 2 and third-generation iPad mini sometime in 2014, and a larger 12.9-inch iPad in 2015. Apple is also expected to release its first wearable device dubbed the "iWatch" alongside the iPhone 6 in the fall.
There has been a serious lack of second-generation iPad 2 rumors, unlike the iPhone 6 which has had almost all of its components leaked online. Some alleged images of an iPad Air 2 dummy unit were posted in June, and now we have our first look at a purported second-generation rear shell. The images posted below were first spotted on China’s microblogging site Weibo on Sunday.
The new images reveal a redesigned speaker grille and relocated microphone next to the camera lens. The volume buttons also seem "more recessed than before," according to Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate].
There hasn't been much talk about the next-generation iPad mini because everyone is mostly focused on Apple's larger iPhone 6 models and rumored iWatch. However, a new report from the Chinese site UDN claims that the third-generation iPad mini will be dropping the "with Retina display" from its name in favor of the word "Air". This is because Apple is reportedly planning to launch a 30 percent thinner iPad mini later this year.
The iPad mini with Retina display is 7.5mm thin, and Apple plans to make it thinner by using a new manufacturing technique to shave off two millimeters. The iPad mini Air will also allegedly be powered by Apple's new and faster A8 processor.
If the rumor mill is to be believed, then Apple plans to release a staggering amount of new products this fall.
According to a report in the The Daily Mail, British fuel cell firm, Intelligent Energy, is working with Apple on new battery technology that could allow mobile devices to go days, if not weeks, before they need to be charged.
According to the paper, Intelligent Energy revealed that it, in collusion with "an international electronics company," had purchased a number of patents related to fuel cell technology. Though the tabloid publication is far from the pinnacle of accuracy, it does get some things right, and in this particular case it claims that it was told by "senior sources in the US" that Apple and Intelligent Energy hoped to have new fuel cells on the market within the next few years. It also claimed to have another source "who has knowledge of the partnership, [and] confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm."
Next-generation iPad rumors have been kind of nonexistent this year, mostly because the rumor mill has been heavily focused on reports that claim Apple is preparing to launch two larger iPhone 6 models and an iWatch this fall. However, according to the Economic Daily, a "12.9-inch iPad is still on the table". The rumored 12.9-inch tablet, dubbed the iPad Pro, will reportedly be announced before the end of the year.
The Chinese publication also said that the iWatch would be launched in three different models and two sizes: 1.6 and 1.8 inches. The 1.8-inch models will feature sapphire glass displays.
It is that time of year again when all eyes are on Apple's next-generation products, and rumors of iWatches and larger iPhones are running rampant. Several reliable and hit-or-miss sources have confirmed that Apple plans to release a slew of new products later this year. Here's a quick look at those rumors.
MacBook Air - Production of a 12-inch MacBook Air will begin in Q3 of 2013, according to the Digitimes. Upstream supply chain sources say Apple is releasing a 12-inch model because "its 11-inch model has a screen size similar to its iPad' and increasing sales of Apple's tablet "are impacting MacBook demand". Apple believes a 12-inch MacBook Air would create a boundary between its 9-inch tablet lineup, and MacBook Air products. The new MacBook will feature some internal redesigns but it will resemble its predecessors externally .
Apple is reportedly starting production on its second iPad Air this month, and some casual fans might find it a little boring. The sixth-generation iPad will feature the same design and display resolution (2048 x 1536) as its predecessor, according to ETNews. The report also makes no mention of Touch ID, but other sources still believe the fingerprint sensor will be Apple's biggest selling point for its new tablet.
The iPad Air 2 is expected to feature Apple's new A8 processor, which is rumored to improve battery performance, an improved 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and that's about it. Apple is also purportedly working on a third-generation iPad mini with similar improvements. Both tablets are expected to launch sometime this fall.
The iPad's lack of multitasking ability has been a constant source of attacks by rival tablet makers' TV ads, and a much requested feature by iPad users. Several weeks ago a rumor surfaced that Apple would add multitasking functionality with the release of iOS 8. Now, according to New York Times technology writer, Brian X. Chen, it appears unlikely that the multitasking ability will be unveiled at WWDC 2014.
In a recent tweet, Chen said that he had been told "the split-screen feature isn't ready yet and won't be shown at WWDC," apparently it is still a work in progress. This is far from a death knell however, as 9to5Mac reports that "iOS 8 is likely to supercharge the functionality of Apple’s iPad with a new split-screen multitasking feature, according to sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development."
A photo of what looks to be a possible iPad Pro industrial prototype was discovered on Chinese site Weibo.com by French site Nowhereelse.fr.
The photo shows a very rough rendering of what appears to be an aluminum back plate of a very large iPad casing. You can see an etched circle at the top left for the rear facing camera and an Apple symbol in the middle. Though it is impossible to determine the precise measurements from the picture, it is clearly larger than the 9.7" iPad Air. It isn't clear where the specifications for this mockup came from so, as always, don't take it as gospel.