Apple broke with its annual iPad refresh schedule last year, when it introduced the fourth generation tablet around six months after it launched the third generation model, meaning there were two new versions of the tablet released during 2012.
This made it difficult to predict when we would see a completely new model released in 2013, as the fourth-gen model had only internal alterations – a new processor and the addition of the new Lightning connector – while the design remained the same.
With April almost over, it’s looking increasingly unlikely we’ll see a new Apple iPad before the summer, and that the switch to late summer/early autumn has been a permanent one. An analyst at KGI Securities agrees, and has said he expects production to begin in August or September.
The analyst also has some insight into the next iPad’s features, plus that he expects the design to change and for it to become more like the iPad Mini, with a smaller bezel and a flat rear panel. The tablet may also be made thinner by about 15%, dropping it from 9.4mm to as little as 7.5 – 8mm. This reduction in thickness may also come with a 150 gram drop in weight, to around 500 grams.
Expect Apple to upgrade the processor to a next generation A7X chip, but the cameras will be similar to previous models, with a 5 megapixel camera on the rear and an HD video call camera above the screen.
All this sounds reasonable, and is certainly in-line with how Apple has altered the iPad for previous releases. It looks like we’ve got a few months wait to find out if the analysts’ predictions come true though.