According to unofficial sources, Apple is set to release the fifth generation iPad in September. Upstream suppliers have commented that manufacturers are on schedule.
“Since upstream suppliers have mostly finished preparing for the production of the new 9.7-inch iPad, there is unlikely to be any changes in terms of specifications for the device,” according to the sources in a report from DigiTimes written by Joseph Tsai.
The rumors come from Apple’s suppliers in China.
“Although suppliers have not yet received a firm mass production schedule from Apple and are mainly shipping products for pilot production, the sources pointed out that pilot production is already able to satisfy demand for the initial launch,” the report continues. “Therefore, the sources expect Apple to give its shipment estimates at the end of July or early August.”
The evidence also suggests that Apple is aping Korean rival Samsung’s “phablet” devices like the Galaxy S3.
“Meanwhile,” the report claims, “Apple has also been asking its upstream supply partners to further shrink the next-generation iPad mini's bezel, aiming to push a bezel-less design similar to that of Samsung and HTC's large-size smartphones.”
This report echoes earlier statements made by analysts.
“Earlier we estimated that shipments of the new iPhone would begin in July and September, while iPad mini 2 would hit the market in August,” KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in a statement made back in April. “Currently, market consensus for shipments of iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone and iPad mini 2 is July, July, and August, respectively. But in light of publicly available information and our knowledge of technological trends, we now think all three products will begin shipments later than our previous expectation and market consensus.”
DigiTimes’ sources also claimed that the next generation of the iPad mini is still very much in development and the release date for that device is not as clear as the 5th generation iPad.
“Apple is expected to refresh its iPad mini in the second half of the year,” DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim claimed last month. “The new iPad mini will continue to use a 7.9-inch display with a 1024×768 resolution, but it will use the iOS 7 operating system and an A6 processor, in a slimmer design than the current generation. Another iPad mini is also planned for production but not until early 2014.”
With tablet competition heating up from the likes of Samsung, Google and HTC, Cupertino is surely hoping the latest iPad and its little brother will be a hit this holiday season.