Even though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will hold its iPhone event next Tuesday, the company’s next generation of iPads isn’t expected to surface publicly until a separate event in October. There’s been a great flurry of confusing and contradictory rumors regarding Apple’s fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini, but KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Wednesday issued a new report (via MacRumors) that might put Apple’s release date timetable in perspective.
Kuo, who has been extremely accurate and reliable in the past with Apple rumors, believes Apple will indeed release its iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 before the end of 2013. Both devices, according to Kuo, Apple will release with its new A7X chip; the iPad 4 is powered by an A6X processor, while the first-generation iPad mini runs on an A5 chip, which originally helped power the iPad 2.
Prior rumors indicated that Apple might release a cheaper iPad mini in 2013 and an iPad mini with Retina display in 2014. Kuo, however, believes we’ll indeed see a Retina iPad mini by the end of this year, with the cheaper model coming in early 2014. The release of a non-Retina iPad mini model would allow Apple to expand its iPad pricing structure, which currently starts at $329 for the basic iPad mini and ranges up to $929 for the decked-out iPad 4 with cellular connectivity and 128 GB of storage.
“We now believe that iPad mini 2 may be pulled in for launching in late 2013,” Kuo said in his report. “Since other brand vendors are all expected to have a line-up of new high resolution 7-8” tablets to launch over the next 3-6 months, we think the iPad mini 2 may lose its opportunity in the market if it is slated for introduction next year.”
Lewis Hilstenteger of Toronto-based Unbox Therapy uploaded two new videos recently, which showed off the rear shells of the new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. While the next iPad mini looks nearly identical to its predecessor (the rear Apple logo got shinier, and that’s about it), the iPad 5 features a completely redesigned form factor to look much more like the Mini with thinner side bezels, new speaker grilles and a tapered back. The iPad 5 will even reportedly be released with the same thickness as the iPad mini, which should please most Apple customers. Check out Unbox Therapy’s video comparing the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2 below.
Considering the deluge of leaks and rumors, we expect Apple to unveil and release the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 very soon – most likely at the end of October or early November. We believe Apple will unveil the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 at an event held on Oct. 22, which would mean the release date for both tablets would land on Nov. 1.
We also believe the release date of the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will coincide with iOS 7 for iPad, which we don't believe will be ready by Apple's Sept. 10 event, as well as a few new Mac computers, including new iMacs and MacBook Pros fitted with Intel's latest processors, codenamed "Haswell."
What do you think of the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2? Would you purchase either of these tablets when they see their respective release dates later this year? Let us know in the comments section below.