That's right iPad fans. Both the 9.7-inch iPad and the iPad mini will be refreshed with improved hardware before the end of this year. DigiTimes issued a report breaking down production and release dates for both Apple tablets in the works. Sources include Taiwan-based supply chain manufacturers, who claim the iPad mini 2 will not achieve volume production until November 2013.
It's not clear whether or not the next generation iPad mini has been postponed due to component shortages or if Apple is looking to boost full-size iPad sales ahead of the revamped iPad mini launch. The fifth-generation iPad is expected to enter mass production starting in July, with the product hitting shelves during the third quarter of this year. The photo above from CiccareseDesign is an artist's rendering of the iPad mini 2 and redesigned iPad 5 side-by-side.
One of the more interesting rumors circling around Apple's plans for the next generation of iPads has surfaced. According to a report cited by Unwired View, the iPad will soon come in three different sizes thanks to the addition of an iPad maxi with 12.9-inch display. The name is said to be tentative, but then the entire notion that Apple will build larger iPads is unconfirmed at the moment.
That being said, the addition of a 12.9-inch iPad would fit nicely with the existing 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad mini currently on the market. The larger form factor would be aimed at the digital textbook market as well as those needing creative and productivity software packages on their tablets. iPad maxi would also compete with smaller notebooks, providing better portability and battery life.
Apple Inc's shares fell below $400 for the first time since 2011, after a report from the DigiTimes claimed iPad mini shipments will decline by as much as 30% during the second quarter of 2013. Sources in the supply chain expect a 20-30% decline in shipments due to anticipation of a second-generation device. However, it's common for interest in an older device to slow when a product refresh is expected.
Cirrus Logic, who makes chips for the iPhone and iPad, also fueled the fire when it reported an inventory glut. Since Cirrus relies on Apple for most of its revenue, the manufacturer's success is considered a good indicator of demand for Apple products. Analysts believe Cirrus' unsold inventory shows a diminished consumer interest in Apple's iPhone and iPad.
An alleged iPad 5 case showing off the device's rumored "iPad mini-like design" has popped up at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Engadget got an early look at the fifth-generation iPad accessory, which was modeled after a leaked mold of the device. The Engadget staff compared the case to older iPad cases, and discovered that the new iPad will be "slimmer and narrower," if the case's design is accurate.
This is not the first time we have heard the iPad 5 will feature the same screen size as its predecessors, while sporting thinner left and right-side bezels like the iPad mini. In February, case manufacturer MiniSuit claimed to know the next-generation tablet's official specs, and built a similar case based on the leaked info. iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz also claimed to have seen a "physical model of the completely redesigned fifth-generation iPad", and said it resembled a "stretched iPad mini".
The Chinese website WeiPhone has posted a few images of what they claim is the rear aluminum shell of the second-generation iPad mini. It's unknown if these are real or fake, but manufacturer AU Optronics has purportedly started manufacturing displays for the new tablet. So it's possible that these are in production too.
The images show an odd, possible pre-production, blue logo, and a thicker housing, which does coincide with current Retina display rumors. The iPad 3 saw a bump in thickness when it was released with Retina display in 2012. The only reason we're considering these images is because WeiPhone has a decent record of publishing leaked Apple images, like it did with the iPad 3's logic board in 2011.
Display manufacturer AU Optronics has caught up with iPad mini yields, and is working on Apple's next-generation 7.9-inch tablet, according to the DigiTimes. The original iPad mini has been in short supply since its release, but Apple has recently updated its online store listing as "in stock".
Industry sources also said AOU is working on new displays for the iPad mini 2. The second generation tablet is rumored to be receiving Retina display, which could increase the price. It is estimated that the new displays will raise production costs by 30%. If true, Apple could pass the extra costs onto customers.
Starting at $329 the iPad mini already costs more than most 7-inch tablets on the market, and adding a high resolution Retina display could make it even more pricier. According to iSuppli (via the DigiTimes), bumping the iPad mini's resolution from 1024x768 to 2,048x1536 would raise production costs by 30%. If true, these extra costs would either have to be eaten by Apple, or be passed onto consumers. Apple isn't known for increasing prices from on from one generation to the next, but it is hard to see how they can keep the iPad mini priced at $329 if all the rumored hardware upgrades are true.
A lot of people were displeased with the iPad mini's lack of Retina display, but a lot of people were also shocked by the $329 price tag. So will people be willing to pay more money for more resolution? I guess it depends on why someone wants a smaller tablet in the first place.
Some Apple fans have been waiting a long time for a 128GB iPad model, and it looks like they won't have to wait much longer. A well known US retailer shared a new iPad SKU with 9to5Mac. Here's what they discovered:
The P101 and P103 names are Apple’s internal nomenclature for the WiFi-only and Cellular-compatible fourth-generation iPads, respectively. Both of those models comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations. These storage sizes are known as “GOOD,” “BETTER,” and “BEST,” respectively. As you can see in our table above, Apple is preparing to release the additional “ULTIMATE” model. “ULTIMATE” frequently refers to the most premium or highest capacity model available. The “A” points to a black configuration, and “B” stands for the white option.
If you believe analysts and the rumor mill, Apple will be releasing a record number of iOS devices this year. There is the iPhone 5S, iPhone mini or "low-cost" iPhone, iPhone Math, the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. The iPhone Math rumor was based on a poorly translated Chinese news report, however, the original rumor stated Apple would be releasing three iPhones in 2013. While it's safe to assume Apple is only working on the iPhone 5S and a low-cost iPhone, it's possible that Tim Cook and team are gearing up to refresh the entire iPhone lineup with three new devices. That would make the iPhone Math rumor plausible, minus the goofy mistranslated name.
While there are a lot of wild iPhone rumors floating around, it's just the opposite for the iPad. The iPad mini is only expected to get an upgrade so it can catch up with its bigger brother. This means a 7.9-inch Retina display, an upgraded processor, and more RAM. It has been rumored that Apple is toying with the idea of releasing the new iPhone in an array of different colors, maybe they will do the same with the iPad mini too... But that's doubtful.
With a new year comes fresh reports of Apple's upcoming device releases, and the iPad is no exception. Initial leaks indicate the next generation iPad will have a slimmer width from side to side. This form factor would essentially mirror the iPad mini, except with a larger screen size. Gizmag explains that the bezel on each side will be over 8 mm thinner.
Not only this, but the iPad 5 could launch as early as March 2013 thanks to new competition in the tablet market. The Next Web has already received evidence from developers that Apple is indeed testing new hardware. The company has also moved to source A7 processors from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) instead of Samsung.