With the launch of the iPad 4 several months ago, Apple did indicate that it was trying something different with the year-long rotation of its product lines. Now if a new report coming out of Asia is to be believed, the Cupertino tech giant is preparing the fifth generation iPad with a release date scheduled for as early as next March.
Japanese blog Macotakara reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Apple would release a thinner and lighter version of the 9.7-inch iPad in March 2013. The report also added that the device would come with a new look, closely resembling the iPad mini that featured the iPhone 5’s black/slate and white/ silver designs.
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“However Chinese news ZOL (CBS Interactive) reported next iPad mini in AppleInsider's article, according to my inside source, iPad (5) may be released in March 2013. Source told that, design of this new iPad will be like iPad mini in detail, and be thinner and lightweight [sic].”
The report also stated some dimensions for the fifth generation iPad iteration: “4mm in height, 17mm in width, depth 2mm.” As 9TO5Mac pointed out, although “these numbers are obviously unrealistic expectations for the fifth-generation iPad’s actual size, these numbers would make sense in the context of being millimeters smaller in all of the iPad’s physical dimensions than the current iPad.”
Given that the existing fourth generation iPad comes in dimensions of 241.2mm by 185.7mm by 9.4mm, subtracting Macotakara’s numbers “would point to a thinner iPad that is slightly shorter and narrower.”
If the rumors turn out to be true, the next-generation iPad could be as thin as the 7.2mm iPad mini.
The March 2013 release of the fifth generation iPad would definitely be aggressive by Apple's standards. But blasting out new iPad updates every six months would help the company “to make sure Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Amazon can't catch up in the tablet market,” Business Insider has pointed out.
While Steve Jobs’ focus was on visionary products, CEO Tim Cook, with his expertise in managing the supply chain, could differentiate Apple “by launching premium products that are continuously refreshed,” the report added.
The Macotakara also claimed that a second generation iPad mini was also being prepared. The smaller iPad would likely feature an all-new 7.9-inch Retina display with the same resolution as the third and fourth generation iPads (2048 x 1536 pixels) and an A6X processor.
In November, DigiTimes also reported that the upcoming version of the iPad could be released in the "Middle of 2013,” boosting “demand for ICs– in particular communication-related chips– during the latter half of the first quarter.”