The iPhone 5 may be the most anticipated iPhone since Apple originally launched the line in 2007, but the iPad mini is definitely the most intriguing Apple device rumored to be launching in 2012. iPad mini rumors are as old as the original iPad, and they have been ramping up ever since Apple released the "new iPad" earlier this year. Most Apple blogs and analysts believe Apple will enter the 7-inch market in 2012 when they announce a smaller iPad either along side the iPhone 5, or at a separate event in September. As usual case makers have jumped on the rumor mill bandwagon and have been developing physical mockups of the rumored tablet at a record pace.
The latest iPad mockup comes from TaoBao.com. The iPad pictured above features skinnier side bezels, a smaller dock connector and a SIM-card slot suggesting Wi-Fi and cellular versions will be available. The design seems to follow earlier reports claiming Apple will shrink the size of its 30-pin dock connector to 8 or 19-pins for all iOS devices starting with the iPhone 5. Purported leaked iPad mini schematics also show that it will be 7.2mm thin and feature a 5.3-inch wide and 7.87-inch long display.
It looks like Apple resellers and carriers are preparing for both the iPhone 5 and a new iPad to be released on September 21. Verizon has blacked out employee vacations from September 21 to September 30 in anticipation of a new iPhone, and multiple Apple Premium Resellers in Europe are clearing shelf space in anticipation of a new iPad.
One unnamed iPad retailer told MacRumors Apple had requested they set aside additional space for more iPads by September 12.
"One of the sources specifically cites September 12 as the Apple-imposed deadline for the adjustments to be made, while another source indicates that their store is already at work on tripling the amount of display space dedicated to the iPad. We're told that the emphasis on iPad display space is coming at the expense of Apple's Mac Pro and Mac mini computers, which are reportedly being removed from display entirely at these locations."
By now every iOS fan has heard the rumor about the next generation iPhone featuring a smaller dock connector. It was originally reported Apple was working on a 19-pin connector for the iPhone 5, but recent rumors have suggested Apple is going for even less pins, maybe as low as 8... And now, iMore claims the iPhone is not the only iOS device receiving a makeover in 2012.
According to iMore, Apple "intends to update their entire lineup of iOS device products to support the new, miniaturized dock connector, and to do it as early the rumored September 12 special event this fall." This means the iPod nano, iPod touch and a new version of the 9.7-inch iPad will all be receiving a refresh next month. If true, this will be an unprecedented move by Apple.
Two tech blogs are claiming Apple will announce both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini at a special event in mid-September. According to iMore, the iPhone 5 will be announced on September 12 along with a new iPod nano and iPad mini. The iPhone 5 will then be released 9 days later on Friday, September 21.
An iLounge source agrees that Apple will announce the iPad mini in 2012, but not until after the iPhone 5 launches in September.
"The iPad mini will apparently not be ready to ship at the same time as the new iPhone, and might have its own debut event. Our source says that it could ship by November, which we noted would be really close to year’s end, during a month that typically doesn’t see new hardware releases from Apple; our source stood firm on the target date."
According to the DigiTimes, Apple is revising the new iPad's battery and dual-LED bar to fix the overheating problem investigated by Consumer Reports in March. Various tests revealed that the iPad 3 runs hotter than the iPad 2, however, Apple claimed that the new iPad is operating within its requirements.
Unnamed supply chain sources revealed today that Apple is revamping the iPad’s battery in an effort to reduce the heat emission. If the reports are true, the tweaked iPad will be "slightly lighter and thinner than previously designed."
Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg claim that Apple is working on a smaller, cheaper iPad to compete with Google's $200 Galaxy Nexus tablet. Original iPad mini rumors stated that Apple was planning to launch a 7.85-inch iPad to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire, but according to “people familiar with the matter” Apple has its sights set on both Google and Amazon.
According to reports, Apple has told component suppliers "to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet." Bloomberg's unnamed sources said the tablet will probably cost around $200 and be launched this October, the same month Apple is expected to announce their new iPhone.
The DigiTimes has restarted the iPad rumor machine by claiming Apple plans to release an "updated 9.7-inch iPad" this summer. The Times cited the Chinese blog Apple Daily as saying the new, new iPad will feature a "indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) panel technology to allow the device to feature an even thinner design and longer battery life."
While a new revamped 9.7-inch iPad seems highly doubtful, Apple did quietly release an improved iPad 2 this year. There were also rumors that Sharp’s IGZO panels were going to be used for the iPad 3. Apple Daily said the panel supply for the new 9.7-inch iPad will be shifted from Samsung to Sharp.
Photos from a source in China have been sent to case maker ZooGue, purportedly of an upcoming iPad Nano body. The silver case looks familiar, except there are notable differences on the bottom of the design. According to these photos, the iPad Nano will feature the same mini-dock connector already seen on iPhone 5 part leaks.
Not only this, but the device features two speaker grills for stereo sound. It looks like something is missing from the top of the part, possibly black plastic which would cover cellular data antennas. This is assuming Apple uses a similar design for the iPad Nano as the current iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
The iPad mini refuses to die as more and more credible sources are confirming its existence.
The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is testing "a new tablet computer with a smaller screen."
"Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif., company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around eight inches and said the company is qualifying suppliers for it. One person said the smaller device will have a similar-resolution screen as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics and LG Display of South Korea to supply the test panels, the person said."
On Thursday, the Taiwan based The Liberty Times (via Makotakara) reported that both LG Display and AU Optronics have already passed certification tests for iPad mini LCD panel production, and are preparing to ship parts for over 6 million units.
Apple is expected to preview iOS 6 at the WWDC on June 11 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It's pretty much confirmed that they will drop Google Maps in favor of the the 3-D mapping tech they gained from the acquisition of C3 Technologies.
While investigating the new Maps application rumor, TechCrunch‘s MG Siegler discovered that there are "whispers about Siri" coming to the iPad. Many had hoped that the new iPad would feature the voice assistant, but Apple did not include it with the third generation tablet. It's believed Siri was left out because the iPad is not always guaranteed to be connected to Wi-Fi or 4G.