Rumors suggest that the fifth generation iPad will be lighter and slimmer while the replacement iPad Mini will get a high-definition display upgrade.
A man takes a photograph using his iPhone of members of the public entering a new Apple store during the official opening in Beijing. Reuters/David Gray
According to numerous South East Asian supply chain partners, the next Apple iPad will be unveiled in March and will be slimmer and
lighter but just as powerful as the current full-sized iPad. The iPad Mini will get a resolution upgrade so that it boasts a HD screen like its big brother and several of its 7-inch competitors.
According to Taiwanese sources quoted in Digitimes, the iPad Mini was going to have a high-resolution display from launch but the extra cost would have made the devices too expensive -- however, the price of panels has fallen sufficiently for the displays to be integrated into future models without increasing the retail price.
Meanwhile, sources from China, reported in the usually reliable Japanese Apple technology site Macotakaea, claim that the fifth generation iPad will only use one, rather than two, LED backlights to illuminate its screen in order to reduce weight, while the bezel around the display will be reduced, as with the iPad Mini, so that the device will be 4mm shorter, 17mm narrower and 2mm thinner, while retaining its 9.7-inch display.
As to the speculation that both devices will debut in March, this is traditionally the month that Apple releases new tablets -- the only exception being in October 2012, when an updated iPad and new iPad Mini were launched to capitalize on the roll-out of 4G LTE mobile connectivity and to cash in on the growing market for smaller tablets respectively.