Feature Article

October 08, 2013

New iPad, iPad Mini Rumors Emerge with Some Familiar Themes

With the iPhone 5s—and its counterpart the iPhone 5c—now available in stores (if it can be found), it's not too surprising to see attentions turn back to the other major hardware release in Apple's stable, the iPad. A set of new rumors have recently emerged around the next release of the popular Apple tablet, and the produce of this latest rumor tree is actually a bit familiar.

The next release of the iPad, and its new smaller cohort the iPad Mini, are both expected in the not too distant future. Indeed, the first iPad Mini was shown off just a little under a year ago—October 23, 2012, actually—so a new one may not be too far off. Some are even projecting new models to be announced October 15 or even the 22nd, keeping better in line with last year's release schedule. Interestingly, the new iPads went on sale shortly thereafter, so estimates are suggesting that the next path will be similar in nature.

The iPad Mini was the first specific rumor target, suggesting that the next version of the smaller tablet will boast Apple's Retina display for the first time. However, significant issues exist within the supply chain that suggest that, should Apple put a Retina display in the iPad Mini, availability will suffer as a result. Reports suggest that the supply chain is only just now looking to make iPad Mini-sized Retina displays, meaning that sufficient numbers just won't be on hand. Yet at the same time, competing smaller tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX offer better resolutions than the current iPad Mini at 1024 x 768, so leaving out the Retina may not be an option.

Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Meanwhile, for the full-size iPad, it's a bit more familiar tune. Lighter and skinnier are the watchwords for this one, as reports suggest that “full-size” won't mean what it used to. However, the 9.7 inch display won't be going anywhere, so apparently Apple has managed to somehow find fat to trim out of its incredibly svelte tablets.

Additionally, new reports suggest camera upgrades are likely for both devices, going from five megapixels to eight, and a larger aperture for both cameras to boot. The iPhone 5s' Touch ID system, complete with fingerprint reader, may also be making an appearance.

Still, it's clear that Apple tablets are the ones to beat, at least for now. Battery life, apps available, and the sheer power of the Apple image are all too hard to pass up for many users. Yet with some clear gains being made from tablets outside the Apple ecosystem, particularly the gains seen in Android tablets as well as the dark horse that is Windows “tabletry,” Apple may not be able to count on being top dog for long. With some tablets bringing out better displays at lower prices, at least for now, and the consumer a bit shakier in the marketplace, Apple's high-end strategy may not be able to hold water too much longer.

Some major advances are going to need to come out—along with a price cut or two—in order to help keep Apple at the top of the heap. Only time will tell just what the next line of iPads actually looks like, but it's a fair bet that Apple will not go down without a fight.

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