Apple’s New iPad Set For September Release; iPad mini 2 Debut Date Still Uncertain

Digitimes’ Max Wang and Joseph Tsai report that Apple is expected to announce its fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad in September as scheduled, but the next-generation iPad mini reportedly may be held up for further upgrades in specifications, according to unnamed sources in the upstream supply chain.

Wang and Tsai say now that upstream ODM suppliers have mostly finished preparing for production of the new 9.7-inch iPad, it’s unlikely that there will be any more changes in terms of specifications for the device, and that as widely rumored, Apple’s new full-sized tablet will features a slimmer bezel design in order to maintain the screen dimensions of previous generations in a device with trimmer overall dimensions and diminished weight. The number of LED backlighting tubes has been reduced from two to one, and battery runtime is also improved.

The reporters say suppliers have not yet received a firm mass production schedule from Apple and are mainly shipping products for pilot production, but affirm that pilot production is already able to satisfy demand for the initial launch, with Apple expected to provide the ODMs with its shipment estimates at the end of July or early August.

However, regarding the next-generation 7.9-inch iPad mini, Wang and Tsai’s sources say Apple is still on the fence as to whether to adopt a Retina Display for the device, and if they decide to do so, the product’s release may be delayed to the end of the fourth quarter. Apple has reportedly also been asking its upstream supply partners to further shrink the next-generation iPad mini’s bezel, shooting for a bezel-less design similar to that of Samsung and HTC’s large-size smartphones.

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