It’s that time of year again, folks, when “people familiar with the plans”, “unnamed sources in the supply chain who’ve been informed of the news”, and “those who know what’s going on but asked not to be identified for fear of a visit from shadowy figures in the small hours” start lobbing into the Apple-based rumor stew all sorts of scuttlebutt, with the words “thinner”, “lighter”, and even “bezel” usually found floating somewhere near the surface.
Coming (fairly) soon
We’ve already heard from DT’s Jeffrey Van Camp on the very latest iPhone gossip, but the iPad and iPad Mini are also in line for a refresh, likely coming “in the final three months of this year”, a Bloomberg report said Monday.
Citing “people familiar with the matter” (there, I’ve said it now), the report said the fifth-iteration of the full-size iPad will have “a body that more closely resembles the current iPad Mini,” likely resulting in a thinner bezel (bezel!) than it has now.
In another report Monday, the Wall Street Journal suggests the 9.7-inch iPad will sport a thinner design, made possible with the use of a film-based touch panel (beneath the cover glass) like the one found on the iPad Mini, instead of the thicker and heavier glass-based touch panel currently used.
This would also contribute to making the device a little lighter, bringing the iPad’s weight back down toward that of the iPad 2. The Wi-Fi-only third- and fourth-generation iPads tip the scales at 1.44 pounds (652 g) whereas the iPad 2 comes in at 1.33 pounds (601 g).
Backlighting utilizing a single LED light bar instead of the two LED light bars used in the current iPad will also help toward a lighter design for the next iteration of Apple’s slate.
The 7.9-inch iPad Mini, meanwhile, will come equipped with Apple’s high-resolution Retina display, Bloomberg said. This seems even more likely in light of the recent launch of Google’s new 7-inch Nexus 7, a tablet with a crisp, super-sharp display that’s wowing many a user.
Some commentators have suggested executives at Apple fear an iPad Mini with a Retina display may serve to cannibalize sales of the more lucrative full-size iPad, but with consumers apparently rather taken by the smaller form factor, it may be the only way to go.
Let’s face it, if the Mini’s makeover leaves out a Retina display, potential buyers who were eagerly awaiting the update with wallet at the ready may just quietly close it and look elsewhere.