iPad Pro

A8X Chip to Power iPad Pro

It has long been rumored that Apple will introduce a bigger, more powerful tablet, dubbed the iPad Pro, either in late 2014 or early 2015. More likely the latter. A recent report from Taiwanese site Tech News indicates that it will likely sport an enhanced version of the A8 chip that is found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

iPad Pro to have A8X chip

According to the report, the "A8X" is necessary to cope with the much larger 12.9" retina display. The largest iPad display to date is the iPad Air's 9.7" screen. The report also mentioned that the next generation iPad Air will likely double its memory to 2GB RAM.

Bloomberg: Apple to Launch 12.9-Inch iPad Pro in 2015

It looks like this may be the year that Apple has decided bigger is better. The company will allegedly begin production on a 12.9-inch iPad by the first quarter of next year, according to Bloomberg. The 12-inch tablet dubbed the "iPad Pro" by the press will be released sometime early 2015.

iPad Pro

This is not the first time we have heard Apple is planning to expand its iPad lineup. Back in April, KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that Apple will launch its second-generation iPad Air in 2014, followed by a 12.9-inch iPad in 2015, and in May an alleged image of an iPad Pro prototype was published on the Chinese site Weibo.com.

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Allegedly Launching in 2014

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.

iPad Pro

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.

Next Gen iPads' A8 Processor Expected to be Much Faster than A7

With the iPhone 6 launch date quickly approaching, there has been much talk of Apple's new A8 processor, which analysts across the board expect to inhabit the new handset. If that is the case, then we can expect the next generation of iPads, including the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and new iPad mini, to be equipped with it as well. This is no small detail, as the A8 apparently blows the A7 out of the water when it comes to speed.

A8 processor much faster than A7

According to Chinese site cnBeta, the A8 will surpass 2.0 GHz, perhaps reaching 2.6 GHz. Currently, the iPhone 5s and iPad mini with Retina display run at 1.3 GHz, while the iPad Air runs at 1.4 GHz. All three have the 64 bit A7 processor with the M7 motion coprocessor. If the A8 truly can reacha 2.6 GHz clock rate, the iPad Air 2 will be nearly twice as fast as the current generation.

Possible 12.9-inch iPad Pro Casing Surfaces

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.

iPad Pro prototype surfaces.

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.

Apple to Release iPad Air 2 With A8 Processor This Year, 12.9" iPad Pro in 2015

According to a research note written by KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo and obtained by AppleInsider, an updated iPad will be out later this year in the form of the iPad Air 2, and a new, 12.9" iPad Pro will launch some time in 2015.

iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro

Ming-Chi, who is known for having accurate predictions regarding Apple products, writes that the iPad Air 2 should be released some time late in the third quarter of 2014 rather than early Q4, as was previously thought. The new iPad will include an A8 processor, manufactured for Apple by TSMC. It will also have a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the rear camera will be upgraded to 8 MP.

Analyst Predicts No New iPad mini or 12-Inch iPad in 2014

"Tepid" sales and the long rumored iWatch could push the iPad mini 3 and Apple's 12-inch "iPad Pro" to the back burner in 2014. KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will only concentrate and launch a second-generation iPad Air this year. Kuo says the new tablet will most likely feature Apple's updated A8 processor, Touch ID and a few minor improvements. The rumored 12.9-inch iPad will also be released in limited supply in 2015, according to Kuo's note obtained by Mac Rumors.

iPad Air 2

"Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models. We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9” iPad. As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9” iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air."

iPad Mini 7-Inch Displays Start Production?

The iPad mini sounds like a knock off product or cheap imitation of the iPad, however according to supply chain mag DigiTimes displays for the rumored device have already been ordered. Apple has placed the 7.85-inch LCD panel orders with AU Optronics and LG Display.

iPad 3 Rumor mini 7-inch

Forhouse, an affiliate of AU Optronics is said to be making matching backlight units for the smaller iPad screen. DigiTimes didn't stop there, with the report also explaining that the assembly contract for the iPad mini will go to Pegatron Technology, not Foxconn, the current producer of the iPad 2. The report follows several back and forth rumors over Apple's plans for a smaller tablet, or lack thereof.

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