As we first predicted late last month, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) plans to introduce and release two new iPads, including the second-generation iPad mini "2" and the fifth-generation full-size iPad, or "iPad 5," at a media event on Oct. 22. Since this prediction came true, does this also mean our release date predictions for the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 are also true?
We initially believed Apple would hold its iPad and Mac event towards the end of October to give the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c some room to breathe after the phones' Sept. 20 release date. By waiting a full month to release its new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2, Apple essentially allowed the hype machine to reload. With the event all-but-confirmed for Oct. 22, we believe Apple will follow tradition when it comes to releasing its hottest products one week after their original unveilings, and release both the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 on Friday, Nov. 1.
This release pattern makes a great deal of sense for Apple. For the last several years, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has introduced its new iPhone or iPad models at an event on Tuesday or Wednesday, while the release date for those items would arrive the following Friday. This pattern allows ample time for the media to drum up hype prior to the devices' release dates, and it also gives consumers enough time to decide whether they'll pre-order their new iPhone or iPad or wait until the public release date the following week to own the product on Day One.
What To Expect At The Oct. 22 Event
Obviously, the centerpiece of the Oct. 22 event is the two new iPad models -- the fifth-generation iPad and the second-generation iPad mini.
When it comes to the iPad 5, we believe Apple plans to release its newest tablet with the same 9.7-inch Retina display but a smaller, sleeker and lighter form factor that more resembles the iPad mini. In fact, we believe Apple has chosen to release the iPad 5 with the exact thickness, thinner side bezels and symmetrical speaker grilles as the iPad mini, as well as a similar aluminum unibody and less tapered back for an easier grip.
Considering last year's iPad 4 was powered by a dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics, we believe the iPad 5 could release with the same chip, but since Apple has never introduced a new iPad without upgrading its processor, it's safe to say the iPad 5 will run on the same A7 chip from the iPhone 5s, or even an A7X chip, which would simply be the same A7 chip optimized for iPad. This chip may also mean the iPad 5 could release with the same M7 co-processor found in the iPhone 5s (which isn't really essential, but it would be a test-run before the chip's mass implementation in the iWatch), but the presence of an A7-esque chip would certainly mean the iPad 5 would be capable of Touch ID.
As for the iPad mini 2, the picture isn't so clear. Rumors and allegedly leaked photos indicate the iPad mini 2 will release with the exact form factor as its predecessor, which means one of two things: The iPad mini 2 will release with slightly upgraded specs and a Retina display, or the iPad mini 2 will feature greatly upgraded specs (maybe even Touch ID, but that's unlikely since that's a major jump in processors generation-to-generation) and possibly even a gold color option, which would sweeten the deal for consumers hoping for an iPad mini with Retina display. If Apple chooses to release a non-Retina iPad mini this month, expect the iPad mini with Retina display to release early next year.
Besides iPads, we also expect the jam-packed Oct. 22 event to reintroduce OS X Mavericks, which was first unveiled at WWDC in June, and some new Mac hardware to go with the new Mac software, including an updated MacBook Pro with Retina display, a new Mac Mini, and the new, completely-redesigned Mac Pro, which was also given a sneak peek in June. We may also see a few surprises at the Oct. 22 event, including new Apple TV hardware, or even a first glimpse at Apple's rumored smart-wristwatch, the iWatch. We believe most new Mac hardware will release within that week, while the release date for both new iPads will be the following Friday.
What do you think about the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2? Does the iPad 5 or iPad mini 2 sound more appealing to you? Sound off in the comments section below.