iPad Air 2, new iPad Mini with Retina display to boast A8 chipsets, Touch ID

By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 10, 2014 07:32 AM EDT

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Apple will reportedly launch new iPads Air and Retina iPads Mini later this year, boasting its latest A8 mobile processor and a new Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

Existing iPads are expected to drop their prices this year, and Apple is also expected to introduce a larger 12.9-inch tablet. The information comes from a reliable source, who has proved to be accurate with such predictions in the past.

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AppleInsider reports that it has obtained a research note from well-known and trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI. According to the analyst, his sources have indicated that Apple will try to drive growth in its tablet segment by launching product refreshes as well as adjusting the prices of existing devices through the end of the calendar year.

Apple will reportedly release a so-called iPad Air 2 slightly earlier than previously expected, likely in the late third quarter instead of the early fourth. The slate will pack the company's next-generation Apple A8 processor made by TSMC, sport a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and boast an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Kuo further notes that the next iPad Mini with Retina display will also pack an A8 processor and Touch ID. The existing Retina iPad Mini reportedly failed to sell as well as the company has originally expected, but the analyst blames it on the fact that the tablet is thicker in order to accommodate the higher-resolution display. Apple made the same mistake with its full-size iPad years back, the analyst points out.

"This change proved unpopular among consumers," Kuo explained. "We think iPad mini with Retina display made the same mistake, explaining why it's not selling as well as the previous generation of iPad mini."

The 2014 iPad Mini with Retina display will reportedly go along the same lines as the current model in terms of form factor, but will ship in limited volumes at first. Meanwhile, its predecessor will continue to sell at a lower price.

At the same time, Apple is reportedly working on a 12.9-inch iPad as well, aiming to deliver a richer productivity and entertainment experience to drive growth. This is not the first time a larger iPad is rumored, as several reports have previously hinted toward this possibility. The larger iPad is expected to compete against Samsung's recently-launched Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro, which boast large displays and focus on productivity.

However, Kuo believes that the 12.9-inch iPad will likely not make it to the market this year, as Apple still has some work to do in terms of usability features.

"With the 12.9" iPad, we think Apple will come up with a new user interface that's more innovative and intuitive, so that input will be as efficient as a device with keyboard," Kuo speculates.

The analyst expects Apple to sell about 73.5 million units of its new iPads in 2014, seeing moderate or "flattish" growth year-over-year.





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