Apple will reportedly be releasing an iPad Mini along with its iPhone 5 next month, and a new report further fuels rumors that the company is preparing for a major launch. Although the Cupertino, Calif.-based manufacturer has not yet confirmed that the iPad Mini's release, alleged evidence says that Apple is ramping up production.
Supply volume of the rumored 7.85-inch iPad Mini is estimated to reach four million units per month starting in September, DigiTimes reported on Tuesday. This predicted production quantity is said to be an effort by Apple to prepare for increasing demand near the holiday season, sources from the upstream supply chain told the digital news site.
Although Apple's rumored iPhone 5 and iPad Mini are said to be unveiled together on Sept. 12, rumors indicate that the new, smaller iteration of the company's tablet will have an October release date. Sources have also allegedly said that the Apple supply chain has already begun supplying a small volume of iPad Mini devices in June, with a monthly volume amounting to several hundreds of thousands.
In addition to production and release date rumors, there have also been reported speculations about the iPad Mini's price. Competitors from Amazon and Google are priced in the $199 range, and sources pointed out to DigiTimes that Apple's upcoming tablet could succeed even if it was priced at $299.
By aggressively pushing four million units a month, Apple is indicating that it is not afraid to cannibalize some sales of its recently released Retina Display iPad. It also suggests that Apple believes in the market for 7-inch tablets and intends to cater to a new audience of tablet-buyers.
If the rumored October release date turns out to be true, this will be close to the launch of Microsoft's first self-branded tablet, known as the Surface. Apple's reported monthly production goal seems ambitious when compared to Microsoft's, as it was recently reported that the company will only be building three million Surface tablets for the entire year.
The fall is likely to bring numerous releases in the tech industry from Apple, Microsoft and Samsung. Some of these launches are rumored while others are confirmed, but the upcoming season is sure to see some major launches.
In addition to Apple reportedly releasing its iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, Microsoft will be releasing its next-generation Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablet. The company is also expected to release a new line of Windows Phone 8 devices alongside these launches, with Nokia spearheading the production along with other manufacturers such as Samsung.
The Galaxy Note 2 is expected to be announced at the end of this month as well, marking another major release only about three months after Samsung premiered its flagship smartphone of 2012, the Galaxy S3.
With the latest iteration of the iPad, fans were introduced to 4G LTE connectivity and Retina Display. It is unclear what the first iPad Mini will bring, but here is a list of rumored features that Apple users may expect to see, courtesy of 9 to 5 Mac.
- Slimmer side bezels
- Separate volume buttons
- Two front cameras
- 7.2-7.3 inch thickness
- Form factor similar to the iPod Touch
- Possible LTE connectivity
It is important to remember that these features are in no way confirmed by Apple, and are based on rendered images, purported leaks and design schematics.