Apple iPad 5 Release Date Tipped For This Spring With iPad Mini Traits; Media Event Likely In March Or April [Report]

on February 16 2013 3:03 AM
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Following Jefferies analyst Peter Misek’s predictions on upcoming Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) products like the iPhone 6, iPhone 5S and a low-cost version of the handset among others, another known industry analyst has jumped into the bandwagon saying that the next iteration of the Apple iPad, aka “iPad 5,” could be unveiled around this Spring.

Apple Insider has reported citing Gene Munster of investment research firm Piper Jaffray that based on a review of past years, the Cupertino tech giant could host a media event in March or April to introduce a redesigned iPad.

"We believe that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April," Apple Insider quoted Munster as saying. "Over the past two years, the Spring event has been iPad updates."

According to Munster, he has made an extensive study of past years’ Apple launch events for new hardware products with special attention on the gaps between those events. He has noticed that since the launch of the iPhone 3GS June 8, 2009, there have been 11 major Apple product launch events.

“The average time between the events has been 123 days, about 4 months,” Munster has said. “The longest amount of time between events since the 3GS launch in 2009 was 216 days (about 7 months), which was the gap between the iPad 2 launch in March 2011 and the iPhone 4S launch in October 2011.”

Considering that the last Apple event was Oct. 23, 2012, a four-month gap points to an event falling late in February, while a seven-month difference suggests a late May event. But Munster believes that “the most likely scenario is an event in between the two, i.e. March or April.”

Newly Designed iPad with iPad Mini Traits

When it comes to the form-factor of the iPad 5, Munster says that while introducing the iPad mini in October last year, Apple made only minor changes to the full sized iPad version. That said, the first Apple event of 2013 could bring significant design overhaul to the next generation 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,” says Munster. “We believe Apple could update the full-sized iPad to a body style similar to the iPad Mini. Additionally, we believe that the iPad Mini could get a Retina display, although that may happen later in the year given the supply constraints Apple faced on the Mini in the December quarter.”

Last month, reports surfaced online that included a set of purported leaked photos of the back plate of the next-gen iPad. The photos, obtained from “a purported China-based iPad accessories maker,” suggested that the device appeared to be heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the iPad mini.

Another area that could see an update this year is the Apple TV with enhanced software.

"All in, if Apple does have a Spring event this year, it may not result in significant new products, but we believe the pipeline for the rest of the year, including a cheaper phone and a television will excite investors about Apple's ability to innovate,” says Munster.

He says, "We would expect to see an Apple TV update in the next six months if Apple plans to launch a television by the end of the year, which we still expect… We believe the updated Apple TV software could 'prime the pump' for the ultimate television.”

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