Apple iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 enter production, should debut soon

By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 12, 2014 07:44 AM EDT

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Apple suppliers have reportedly started producing new iPads, which means that it shouldn't be too long before the next-generation Retina tablets make their debut.

The company has already unveiled its new iOS 8 software, which will officially launch this fall with the new generation of iDevices. The iPhone 6 is widely expected to debut next month, and the latest info now reveals that Apple has also started production for two new iPad models, which will reportedly arrive before Christmas.

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A new report from Bloomberg claims that Apple has started production for its upcoming 9.7-inch iPad, unofficially dubbed the iPad Air 2. The slate should become official soon. A new iPad Mini is also en route.

"Apple Inc.'s suppliers have started manufacturing new iPads, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as the company works to reinvigorate sales of the tablet computers after two straight quarters of declines," Bloomberg reports.

"Mass production of a full-sized iPad with a 9.7-inch screen is already under way, with an unveiling projected for the end of this quarter or early next, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public. A new version of the 7.9-inch iPad mini is also entering production and will probably be available by the end of the year, they said."

The publication further notes that the full-sized iPad may come in limited quantities, at least at first, over "manufacturing complications related to the use of an anti-reflection coating." That coating is used to improve readability in daylight.

The timing would fall in line with previous Apple launch schedules. As a reminder, Apple moved to a November release timeframe for new iPads back in 2012, when it launched the fourth-generation iPad and the original iPad Mini.

This year, however, competition is fiercer and Apple has seen consecutive quarters of notable year-on-year declines. Android tablets have also grown in popularity, threatening to eat into the iPad's share of the market, and Apple should take things up a notch with its next-generation iDevices in order to stay ahead of the curb.

Apple is also expected to launch two large-screen iPhones this year, as well as a much-touted wearable device unofficially dubbed the iWatch, in addition to the next-generation iPads. On the other hand, with no official word from the company, it all remains in the rumor state for now. We'll keep you up to date as soon as more details emerge, but take everything with a grain of salt in the meantime.


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