Is Apple asleep at the wheel or so busy behind the scenes working on the next great iPad refresh that nobody in Cupertino has the time to leak any iPad details?
iPad Refresh List
It doesn’t take much effort to figure out what Apple is working on to highlight the major components of the as-yet-unannounced iPad refresh expected this fall.
Every major competitor has an iPad competitor in the form of a lightweight tablet with higher screen resolution than either iPad 4 or iPad mini.
It’s not that Apple cannot create a Retina caliber display for the mini, it’s that Apple is patient and would prefer to deliver an iPhone 5S and 5C caliber announcement.
Here’s what I see coming from Cupertino, sooner rather than later– the mother of all upgrade cycles for the iPad line.
First, a thinner, lighter iPad 5 with an A7X CPU, longer battery life, a Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor (just like the iPhone 5S), and perhaps even higher resolution (well beyond Retina display specifications).
Second, I expect Apple to segregate the iPad lineup similar to the new iPhones– a more expensive and more capable iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 (faster A7X 64-bit CPU, more battery life, Touch ID, higher resolution display), and a lower priced, multi-colored polycarbonate entry level iPad mini model which resembles a very large iPhone 5C.
Wait. There’s More!
There’s talk on the street of Apple working on a larger model iPad with perhaps a 13-inch display (similar in size to the high end MacBook Air) and a detachable keyboard (similar to the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard cover for iPad 4 and iPad mini).
How can Apple deliver smaller, lighter iPad models with higher resolution displays, and long battery life? If it’s possible, chances are it’s Sharp’s IGZO displays that will do the deed. Think screens with higher pixel density (beyond Retina levels), combined with lower power requirements, hence long battery life.
That scenario is plausible, of course, and could be why Apple has waited so long to update the aging iPad mini line. IGZO screen technology could also be used in a flagship class iPhone 6 with a 5-inch Retina display, which could be launched in spring 2014.
This is all logical, plausible speculation, of course, but Apple’s public silence should not be construed as the design and engineering teams that built the colossal profit machines going to sleep. Competitors are not sleeping, and neither is Apple.
UPDATE: Apple plans an October 22nd show ‘n tell, ostensibly for new iPads, but that would be a good time to introduce the long expected Mac Pro and OS X 10.9 Mavericks.