As we close in on the month of March, which seems almost certain to hold the promise of an Apple Event, the rumors of new iPads continue to abound. However, in the last week or so, they seem to have taken a turn. While there is growing certainty that there will be an event in March, whether we will actually get iPad hardware that soon is now being called into question.
Boy, the rumors about whether or not we’ll see an iPad mini with Retina display in 2013 have been flying round all year long. One minute it’s a sure thing we will see the Retina iPad min this year; the next it’s a definite no-go due to supply chain issues or the complexity of the manufacturing process for it.
This week’s latest reports on the subject, like this one from Reuters, cite ‘people who work in the company’s (Apple’s) supply chain’ and sum things up like so:
Apple’s supply chain is only now gearing up to make retina displays for the iPad Mini, which means the gadgets could be available in only limited quantities this year, if at all, and the company may miss the chance to cash in on the year-end holiday shopping season …
This is one iPad rumor I’m not fond of, of course. I hope it’s inaccurate because I’d hate to see Apple miss out on the 2013 holiday season with the new Retina iPad mini – which is bound to be a big hit. I also hope this report is wrong for purely personal reasons. My iPad usage now skews something like 80-20 in favor of the iPad mini. My iPad 3 is still a powerful and beautiful device, but the lightness and the form factor of the iPad mini have made it the tablet I use the most since the first week I owned it.
So here’s hoping this latest Retina iPad mini report is not on the money, and that Apple announces its iPad event very soon so we can get the real answers on new iPads.
Image Source: Martin Hajek
So today we’ve got a promising sounding iPad rumor that says Apple may be gearing up for a new iPad release as soon as April. This comes via Rene Ritchie at iMore, who has a very solid recent track record on predicting new Apple product launch and release dates.
Here’s the gist of what iMore has heard:
We’ve also been told an April-ish launch is getting serious consideration for the next-generation iPads, but we’re really not sure what to make of that yet. iPad 5 casings have already begun to leak — the only big redesign in the line — so that could make sense. Retina for the iPad mini, however, still doesn’t sound imminent.
I’ve said before and still think that a twice a year refresh pattern for the iPad sounds right to me. They did it last year and it would make a lot of sense to me if the iPad 5th gen gets a Spring release and then the iPad mini sees a late Fall release. That should allow for substantial upgrades to the ‘standard’ iPad and hopefully enough time for Apple to work out a way to add a retina display to the iPad mini.
My only other quick thought is that while an iPad mini with retina display should be a monster hit right away, the iPad 5 will need some major new features to create anything like as much excitement.
What are your thoughts on the new iPads we’ll see this year?
iPad 5 Render courtesy of Martin Hajek
It’s taken a little longer than I expected for iPad 5 (or whatever a 5th gen standard iPad ends up being called) to get going in 2013. I think this is at least partly due to the surprise release of the iPad 4th gen last November. That has left a lot of room for doubt as to whether Apple will skip their usual Spring release cycle for the iPad, or continue with a twice-a-year refresh pattern.
Todays rumor comes via Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster, as reported by Apple Insider. Jaffray believes we’ll see an iPad event in the March/April timeframe. As in, pretty much when we have come to expect them since 2010.
He also speculates that since the 4th gen iPad brought only relatively minor updates last fall alongside the launch of the iPad mini, this event should see the unveiling of substantially redesigned iPad.
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.
I feel like this rumor is almost in the obvious category. I find it hard to imagine that Apple will do nothing to refresh the iPad lineup until the final quarter of the year – especially since Tim Cook talked about how Apple was ‘just getting started’ and said “We’re not taking our foot off the gas” at last year’s iPad mini / iPad 4th gen announcement event. It makes perfect sense for the iPad update to come first, presumably becoming lighter and borrowing from the iPad mini design – with an update for the smaller iPad coming in the Fall / Winter that hopefully adds a retina display.
What do you all think? iPad 5 event in the next couple months?
Image Source: Martin Hajek
I know, I know – new iPad rumors already – when we just saw the release of two new iPads a couple of months ago. Crazy, right? Well, maybe not so much. Today MacRumors and others are reporting on Wall Street analyst Brian White’s prediction that we’ll see 2 more new iPads released in March:
Our checks at CES indicate Apple will release the iPad 5 and the second-generation iPad mini this March. The iPad 5 is expected to be lighter and thinner than the iPad 4 that was released in October, while the form factor of the iPad mini should be similar to the first generation iPad mini that debuted in October.
Even more interesting is that over recent weeks Horace Dediu of Asymco discussed the possibility of Apple switching to a twice a year release schedule for at least some of its star products – and put forward some solid reasons why this is plausible. Then Graham Spencer at MacStories did some further research and analysis around Dediu’s case and posted his thoughts this week. He weighs up a number of factors to do with release schedules, international rollouts timing, spreading out demand peaks and troughs better over the course of the year and ends up saying his guess is that Apple will move to a twice a year release schedule for the iPad and iPhone in 2013, while pointing out that it’s a tough call and a very tough thing to pull off for Apple.
Lately it has seemed that iPad Mini rumors had reached the boiling point where all that was missing was a date for an Apple announcement event. And now, according to the trusted sources of iMore’s Rene Ritchie, we’ve got one: Wednesday September 12th.
Ritchie’s report says the iPad Mini (or whatever name Apple decides to give it) will be announced alongside the next new iPhone and probably a new iPod Touch as well. The iPhone 5 (or whatever name the next iPhone is given) is said to be set for release on September 21.
According to Ritchie and others like iLounge, the iPad Mini could be released as soon as September 21 or as late as sometime in November.
Ritchie and his sources have a pretty good record when it comes to Apple event and release dates. My feeling, again, is that the iPad Mini release is virtually a lock now – and it looks like a release in just the next few months is on the cards now.
I’m definitely going to continue to save up for an iPad Mini purchase within the next three months. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on and purchasing plans (or lack thereof) for the iPad Mini in the comments.
As if there weren’t already enough compelling indicators that Apple is looking to release an iPad Mini over the next half year or so, now The New York Times has weighed in and said their sources confirm the same sort of information we’ve been hearing from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal and others over recent weeks.
In a report yesterday the NYT mentioned that the iPad may be facing stiffer competition soon as Google has released their Nexus 7 (which is getting some quite strong reviews), Microsoft has announced their upcoming Surface tablets / hybrid devices and Amazon is said to be planning updates for their Kindle Fire.
But Apple is hardly about to cede ground.
The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.
As with many new Apple products over the last few years, all the iPad Mini rumor stars are aligning now. Gruber’s little birdies are chirping the same sort of things as the NYT’s people with knowledge of the project. Jim Dalrymple at The Loop is using the word when rather than if when talking about a smaller iPad.
By now it will be a bit of a shocker if we don’t see Apple release a smaller iPad, and I expect over the next couple months we may well start seeing more and more leaks of iPad Mini spec details and perhaps even one of those lovely Apple event invites. Maybe they’ll announce it alongside the next-gen iPhone.
Last week I posted about how iPad Mini rumors had been gaining strength. The feeling of ‘where there’s this much smoke, there must be some fire’ was growing for me and I said this towards the end of that post:
I guess I’ve reached the stage where I’d be more surprised not to see the iPad Mini released in the next 8-10 months, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see it launched this year.
Well, this week has only increased that feeling, I’d say it’s now very likely we will see an ‘iPad Mini’ (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) released in the next 6-8 months. The reason I now feel so convinced of this is that two of the best and best-connected Apple writers have weighed in (to varying degrees) on the subject this week, and all the indicators from them are that we will see Apple release a smaller iPad.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a post up today titled Let’s Try to Think This iPad Mini Thing All the Way Through. In the post he proceeds to do just that. He works through all the main arguments against the release of the iPad Mini and provides good reasons why these may not hold much weight anymore – as Philip Elmer-Dewitt at Fortune Tech points out:
- The size problem — It’s a mistake to call it a 7-inch iPad, says Gruber, because a 7.85 inches diagonal is closer to 8 inches than the 9.7-inch diagonal iPad is to 10 inches (and nearly everybody refers to the current iPad as a 10-inch tablet). Most 7-inch tablets have been disappointments. An 8-inch tablet needn’t be.
- The sandpaper problem — When Steve Jobs said you’d need to sandpaper your fingers to use a smaller iPad he was talking about a 7-inch screen (50% the surface area of today’s iPad), not a nearly 8-inch inch screen (64%). [According to Jobs and Gruber’s geometry, the ratios are 45% and 66%.] Besides, Jobs was famous for changing his mind on a dime.
The iPad rumor that just won’t die – the one that says Apple will release a smaller iPad or an iPad Mini as it’s often called – has gained strength again this week. Reports from both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal say the iPad Mini is coming this fall.
Here’s a key slice of what the WSJ has to say on this:
Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near. Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad’s screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.
Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that if these reports prove true he expects the iPad Mini (or whatever it ends up being called) would likely be a 7.85 inch tablet with a 1024X768 display – based on the reasons and logic put forward by A.T. FAUST III of App Advice a few months back.
According to 9to5Mac and their trusty trusted sources Apple will be bringing the popular Siri voice-assistant feature to the iPad in iOS 6, the next major update to the iPad’s operating system. iOS 6 is expected to be released this summer or fall – we’ll learn more about when Apple holds their WWDC keynote event next Monday.
Here’s a slice of the 9to5Mac report on this:
Come this fall, people will start talking to their iPads. Apple’s breakthrough Siri Assistant, based on an incredible artificial-intelligence system, will no longer be exclusive to users of the popular iPhone 4S. According to trusted sources, one of the tentpole iOS 6 features is Siri support on the iPad. Not just the Voice Dictation brought to the iPad with the third-generation models and iOS 5.1, but the complete Siri voice assistant.
Siri, the software we first detailed for the iPhone in September of last year, brings all of its iPhone 4S features to the iPad, except for the phone-related commands. Music playback, iMessaging, Calendar managing, Reminders, Weather, Maps integration, E-mailing, Notes, Contacts searching, Safari integration, Wolfram-Alpha searching, and more are all present.
They also state that Siri for iPad will not be full-screen as it is on the iPhone 4S, which makes sense given the major difference in form factors between iPhone and iPad. Their mockup shown above illustrates how Siri on the iPad might look.
Back in February The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper, published a report saying that Microsoft was working on a version of Microsoft Office for iPad, it was nearly complete, and they had even got some hands-on time with ‘a working prototype’ of the software.
This week the Boy Genius himself. Jonathan Geller of BGR, says he has learned from a reliable source that Microsoft is planning to release MS Office for the iPad and Android tablets – and they’re aiming for a November launch.
Their source also claims to have seen Microsoft Office running on an iPad and mentions that the splash screen for it says ‘Office for iOS’ – which suggests there would be an iPhone version as well.
If we knew some specific dates for when the new Windows 8 tablets will launch (if ever) then we might be able to start guessing how long afterwards Microsoft would see fit to allow their office suite on other mobile platforms.
If and when Microsoft Office comes to the iPad, I think it’s a clear win-win situation for Apple and Microsoft. For Apple it’s another premier productivity suite and some flagship apps (especially for many corporate iPad users) and for Microsoft it would be a huge boost for their leading software suite in the rapidly growing mobile arena.