There has been a lot of discussion of late regarding an April release of the fifth-generation iPad, aka iPad 5. If many prominent Apple reporters are to be believed, the Cupertino tech giant had even planned an event for later this month to introduce a new 9.7-inch iPad model.
But according to a Tuesday report from DigiTimes, sources in the Taiwanese supply chain have revealed that Apple will begin volume production of the iPad 5 only sometime between July and August, which clearly challenges the April launch predictions for the device.
“Volume production of the fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will kick off in July-August 2013, according to sources with Taiwan-based supply chain. Yield rates for key components, especially touch panels, will be a major concern for smooth production,” the report states.
As MacRumors points out, Apple generally launches a new iPad in the first few months of the year. But the company broke that tradition last year by releasing two iPad models -- one in March and another in November. “The late 2012 release of the fourth-generation iPad may have altered that usual timetable.”
When it comes to the new iPad’s design, the DigiTimes report reiterates earlier rumors that had suggested the 2013 model of the full-size iPad would include design aesthetics of the iPad Mini. According to it, the upcoming version of the Apple flagship tablet will be thinner and lighter than the existing iPad 4. The device will come with a slim bezel design, which will be similar to what the current iPad Mini features.
In February, Gene Munster of investment research firm Piper Jaffray said that Apple could host a media event in March or April to introduce a redesigned iPad with both Retina display and iPad Mini traits.
“If Apple were to do a spring event, we believe it would likely be incremental updates, likely to the iPad line rather than a significant new product,” Munster said. “We believe Apple could update the full-size iPad to a body style similar to the iPad Mini."
A set of purportedly leaked photos of the back plate of the next-gen iPad earlier this year also suggested that the device’s design could be influenced by the aesthetics of the iPad Mini.
In addition, the DigiTimes report in question has even provided information about Apple’s component suppliers of the iPad 5. It says that the new iPad’s display is expected to be supplied by LG Display and Sharp, the touch panel assembly will be supplied by TPK, and the ITO thin film will be handled by Nitto Denko and Teijin.