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.
One of the most requested features on the iPad has to be the ability to multitask. According to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, Apple is planning on adding the ability to run two apps at once on the iPad with the release of iOS 8. iPad users will not only be able to run two apps simultaneously, but they will also be able to make supported apps interact with one another.
Apple is reportedly adding the ability for developers to enable their apps to interact with other apps. If true, this means users will be able to drag video or images from one app to another, and so on.
An official at a local Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times that a "first-tier display supplier is now producing a 12.9-inch Retina display" for a new iPad. The larger iPad is slated for a 2014 release and it will boast an "almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality" screen with more pixels than the current iPad Air model.
“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."
Here's one last next-generation iPad rumor to mull over before Apple's official announcement tomorrow. Ex-Apple developer Jamie Ryan published a blog post (via Gizmodo UK) claiming Apple is working on an iPad 5 case that "mimics Microsoft's touch cover." The new cover would be an improvement over Apple's current Bluetooth keyboard, and allow the company to "differentiate the larger iPad" from the iPad mini, according to Ryan.
"Apple already sells a Bluetooth keyboard that functions perfectly with the iPad but it’s not quite as integrated as Microsofts offering, requiring a lot more bag space. This is the primary motivation behind the development, as all of the current solutions are fairly inelegant. Apple realises the market for the large iPad is mainly professionals looking to work on it whereas the iPad mini is mainly content consumption.
The latest iPad mini 2 shortage rumor comes from Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek who believes the second-generation tablet will have a Retina display. However, it is the Retina display which makes Misek worry that stock of the new Apple slate will be limited at launch.
"We expect a Retina Display iPad mini to be introduced at $329. Yields for Retina film based display for mini remain terrible, which is why there was speculation (i.e., Reuters) that the launch could be pushed out to CQ1. We think initial launch supplies could be constrained to as few units as 2-5M."
Everyone seems to be looking ahead to the iPad 6, instead of getting excited for the iPad 5, which is expected to be announced by Apple in a few weeks. The well trusted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo sent out a research note over the weekend regarding the future of Apple's iPad, iMac and MacBook lines. Unlike analyst David Hsieh, who believes Apple is working on a 12-inch iPad, Kuo thinks the iPad 6 "will not change from the current 9.7-inch format." Instead Kuo says the iPad 6 will get a bump in pixels per inch instead of an increase in screen size.
"In light [of] advancing Oxide and a-Si technologies, the PPI of iPad 6, which we expect to come out at end-2014, will exceed that of 2013’s iPad 5 by 30-40%, which will offer more competent visuals.”
Kuo also noted that he expects the iPad mini 2 to feature a Retina display, and added "that there will be no further changes to resolution for the third-generation iPad mini next year," according to MacRumors.
The reliable Sonny Dickson published a detailed image gallery of the fifth-generation iPad. Dickson is the Australian writer who gave us an accurate early look at the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The new images depict the upcoming 9.7-inch slate's casing and front panel in space grey.
This is just one of many leaks showing off the new iPad in parts, but it also the most thorough. The gallery features over 70 alleged high-res images of the upcoming tablet.
Analyst David Hsieh has released a report on Apple's upcoming 2014 products based on his supply chain research. Hsieh believes "Apple is planning to revamp nearly all of the displays in its products over the next year." This includes a 12.9-inch iPad with a 2,732 × 2,048 resolution, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.7-inch iPhone with a 1,920 x 1,080 display. Hsieh also said Apple will release an iWatch, a new Retina MacBook Air, and an Apple-branded TV sometime next year.
Hsieh notes that "rapid developments in technology and manufacturing of LCD and OLED displays" has made it easier for Apple's competitors to challenge the Cupertino company.
"Apple is no longer able to offer unique features in its displays as a long-term differentiator. Mobile device brands are adopting the latest displays with large sizes, high resolution, wide color gamut and low color shift wide viewing angle, and low power consumption, supplied by many panel makers not 'bounded by Apple. Introduction of the iPhone 5S and 5C was the latest example that Apple has been slow in adopting the latest display technologies.