As you’re almost certainly aware, Apple’s big press event is being held tomorrow. While a number of items are likely on the agenda – including OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro, as we have previously discussed – it's the iPad refresh that has got the majority of folks excited.
It's been a year since we've seen a revamped iPad. Last October, Cupertino gave its original iPad a slight bump, adding the A6 processor and the Lightning Connector, while bumping up the FaceTime camera, Wi-Fi performance, and LTE support. It also expanded into smaller form factors with the iPad mini.
But now it's time for something new. The larger iPad is likely due for a form factor overhaul, while many fans are hoping for a better display on the iPad mini. Could we also get a price reduction? Don’t hold your breath on the new models, but older iPads will likely get a discount.
When the iPad first debuted in 2010, it was really the only tablet worth buying. For some, that still holds true, but Apple now has some more worthy competition, from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition to the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX with live customer service assistance. A number of Windows 8.1 tablets are also hitting the market soon.
So can Apple's iPad update tempt you to spend your hard-earned cash rather than these rivals? In this article, we’re going to round up all the major rumours, and look at some of the things Cupertino might have up its sleeve for the new iPads.
iPad mini with Retina Display
The most popular rumour doing the rounds is that the second-gen iPad mini will sport a Retina display. The lack of such a high-res screen was the top complaint about Apple's scaled-down tablet when it emerged last year. But can Apple get it together in time? That question brings us on to…
Mini Retina Display in short supply
Recently, there have been reports that the iPad mini with Retina display will either be in very short supply in 2013, or it will be pushed to 2014 thanks to supply constraints. The fanboys and girls will likely revolt if the iPad mini doesn't get a Retina display, so one would hope it's on the agenda. But can suppliers produce the goods? Concerns about that might be one reason why Apple will reportedly not ditch Samsung as a display partner, despite their rivalry.
iPad mini elements on iPad 5
According to a leaked video that claimed to show off the shells of the new iPad mini and iPad (pictured above), the iPad 5 design will take its cues from the mini – particularly those rounded edges. Furthermore, the video claimed that there will be a speaker on the centre bottom of the iPad 5 and a mirrored logo, much like the iPad mini. Rumour has it that there will also be two separate volume buttons on the iPad 5 rather than one, and an extra microphone on the back of the device.
With the iPhone 5S, Apple added Touch ID – a fingerprint scanner that will unlock your phone and let you purchase items from iTunes without having to enter your password. Last month, French blog NowhereElse.fr posted photos that showed off an iPad with Touch ID, so stay tuned to see if Apple also boosts security on its tablets, too.
What will power the new iPads? Earlier this year, Mobileleaks.nl reported that the new iPad mini will contain the A6X found in the iPad 4 (the current mini runs the A5). But that was before Apple launched the A7 in the iPhone 5S. More recently, Apple insider Sonny Dickson tweeted that the iPad mini 2 will sport the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor.
That same report from NowhereElse.fr, meanwhile, included a photo of what looked like a gold iPad, while Dickson suggested that space grey would also be available as a colour option. Apple has struggled to keep up with demand for the gold iPhone 5S, so producing an even bigger gadget with a champagne hue might not be on the cards – but Apple does like surprising us, so stay tuned.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was requesting prototype smartphone screens larger than 4in, as well as screen designs for a tablet measuring slightly less than 13in diagonally. Tim Cook is not a huge fan of phablets and a tablet over 10in would probably be unwieldy – but Cupertino has to keep up with the trends as much as the next tech firm. That said, just because it's experimenting with larger form factors doesn't actually mean that those bigger devices will ever emerge from Jony Ive's design studio. This one is probably the least likely possibility we’ve covered here.
Keep your eyes peeled on our countdown to launch article, and stay tuned for our full coverage of the event tomorrow to find out which rumours come to fruition.