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Apple might only refresh iPad Air with A8 chip this year, supersized 12.9in iPad doubtful

There’s a good chance that Apple will only revamp one of its tablets in 2014, namely the flagship iPad Air, with the rest of the range staying the same. Except presumably the legacy iPad 2, which as we reported last week is surely about to be retired on the back of flagging sales.

It seems that according to one analyst – yes, have your requisite pinch of salt handy as ever – a follow-up to the iPad mini Retina which was launched late in 2013 seems unlikely, and the rumoured supersized 12.9in iPad isn’t likely to be on shelves this year.

AppleInsider pointed out the report by Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, which was published at the weekend predicting that the iPad Air would be the only model which Cupertino overhauls in 2014. The source reckons that come the autumn, the iPad Air will be graced with a new A8 processor, and also the Touch ID fingerprint sensor as seen on the iPhone 5S – both of which sound pretty likely (or even obvious) bets to us.

Kuo reckons that the iPad mini won’t see a refresh because Apple is currently concentrating on pushing out the 12.9in iPad, or “iPad Pro” – but even with the focus on that larger slate, Kuo believes Cupertino won’t be able to bring the device to market this year.

The analyst said the chances of a new iPad mini were “slim” (as slim as the revamped iPad Air, most likely).

The other element eating up Apple’s development time is the iWatch, which Kuo expects to launch this year – and the OS for that will need a lot of attention, which could mean that the work on the software side of the iPad Pro may fall behind.

He hasn’t completely discounted the possible launch of the iPad Pro this year, though. Kuo noted: “Even if it (a larger iPad) does make an appearance this year, shipments will be low.”

We think there’s a chance the iWatch might be pencilled in for next year rather than this year – simply to let the smartwatch market fully form, and give Apple time to hone the new device to the maximum – so perhaps we will see the 12.9in iPad in 2014. Kuo has got things right in the past where Cupertino is concerned, though, and whichever way you dice it, an update for the iPad mini looks the most doubtful possibility at the moment. Especially when you consider that it did receive a relatively major update with the Retina screen in 2013.

The analyst also said that he believes iPad shipment numbers will dip this year, given the relative lack of innovation on offer.