A new report by the respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple Inc. is planning to release this fall a new version of the iPad mini that is basically a smaller version of the iPad Air 2.
In a note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo said the new iPad mini will have an upgraded processor, as well as a lighter and thinner chassis. The analyst indicated he expects a sequential increase in iPad shipments to 11 million units in Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, but a year-over-year decrease of 28.3 percent in Q4.
Kuo estimated Apple shipped 5.4 million Macs, 8.8 million iPads, and 54.2 million iPhones in Q3. It sounds impressive, but it means iPad sales would have declined again by 33.5 percent, while Mac and iPhone sales advanced by 54 percent and 21.6 percent, respectively. An upgrade to the iPad mini may help rekindle interest in the product, which has not received a major cosmetic change since its introduction in November 2012.
Kuo's report also suggested the Apple Watch will be given an update, with new yellow-gold and rose-gold color options for the Apple Watch Sport. Kuo estimated Apple shipped 3.9 million watches in Q3, which would be in line with a consumer response that the analyst described as "tepid."
When Apple updated its iPad mini last year, the tablet was given a modest upgrade. The Home button was replaced with a Touch ID, and a new gold color option was introduced. The changes failed to impress technology reporters, who noted the contrast between them and the large number of major modifications made in the iPad Air. As a result, it's no wonder tech reporters were wowed at the time by the iPad Air 2's comparatively light casing and lightning-fast processor.