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Weekend Roundup: Apple's iPad 5 and mini train gains momentum, Samsung warps the Galaxy and the world forgets about PCs

iPad this, iPad that

Of course, rumours about the newest batch of Apple tablets have dominated the headlines all week. It is now widely expected that the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will launch at an invitation-only event on 22 October, despite the small fact that Apple has so far announced absolutely nothing.

The company's total silence has been an interesting talking point. Apple has neither confirmed nor denied any of the gossip so, naturally, the rumour mill has gone wild.

Several sensible predictions keep popping up, however. According to the majority of industry experts and analysts, the fifth generation of the iPad will be slimmer and lighter than its predecessors, packing the iPhone 5S' new A7 chip and a fingerprint scanner. Version two of the iPad mini, if it does indeed exist, is expected to feature a 'retina display' screen.

But it's not just wild words and whispers that have taken over the Internet. A couple of days ago, we got our hands on a good number of decent quality snaps - makes a change, doesn't it? - of a device claimed to be a 'space grey' iPad 5. Obviously we have no way to prove whether the pictures are genuine or not, but they do look pretty convincing.

It's been good knowing you PC

Ever since the original iPad came out, it's been obvious that the PC market was going to face a massive struggle to keep its head above water, but this week brought with it a double-header of bad news. As already mentioned, rumours of a forthcoming iPad 5 have been rife, but one particular nugget of gossip has set alarm bells ringing.

Analysts are convinced that a 64-bit model of the tablet could help Apple make a real statement of intent in the corporate world, bringing with it devastating consequences for the PC industry. So great are these fears, that Deutsche Bank has already cut PC shipment estimates for 2013 and 2014, predicting growth of minus 10 per cent and minus eight per cent (down from minus eight and minus six per cent), respectively.

Market research firm Gartner says that worldwide PC shipments have fallen to their lowest level for the back-to-school period since way back in 2008. The 80.3 million units flogged in the third quarter of this year represents an 8.6 per cent decline from the same period in 2012.

We also got our hands on Tesco's £119 Hudl tablet this week, which earned an impressive four out of five stars in our review. The fact is that while tablets are becoming more and more capable, they are also growing less expensive than ever, and that spells doom for the PC market.

What's the point of the Galaxy Round?

Forget about Apple. Samsung has thrown itself into a new tech rivalry of late, with the firm going head-to-head with LG over curved display technology. And, for now at least, Samsung seems to have come out on top.

The company this week outed the Galaxy Round, a phablet with a 5.7in curved AMOLED screen. Unfortunately the display is not flexible, but Samsung claims that it comfortably fits the contours of a user's hand and face. Round users will also be able to quickly check things like the time, missed calls and other notifications simply by tilting the screen towards them, in a feature called Roll Effect.

Samsung has not yet announced when the smartphone might make its global debut, but fellow South Korean tech powerhouse LG is not just going to stand by and watch from the wings. The company has announced its own set of new devices, all featuring concave displays and all scheduled for a 2014 release. LG's own offering is 0.44mm thick and 7.2g, making it the world's thinnest flexible OLED panel.

According to IHS Display Bank, curved screens are no mere gimmick. The research firm believes that the flexible display industry will be worth $1.5 billion by 2016 and over $10 billion by 2019.

Image credits: Sonny Dickson, Flickr (francesco.lepri)