Archive of iPad Mini Rumors

The first beta of iOS 8.1 seeded earlier today has not yet revealed a significant number of changes visible to regular users, but developer Hamza Sood has managed to uncover several interesting hidden settings and strings from the new version.

First, Sood shares a screenshot of a hidden Settings pane for Apple Pay inside. The pane will allow users to manage their entered credit and debit cards linked to Apple Pay, as well as define their default card, billing and shipping address, email, and phone.

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The Settings screen for Apple Pay also links to a privacy disclosure outlining how the user's card and device information and location may be sent back to Apple and perhaps passed on to the card issuer to determine eligibility and detect possible fraud.

Apple Pay will allow users to easily authenticate payments to their preferred credit and debit cards, using NFC for point-of-sale transactions with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Apple Watch while also allowing for Touch ID-based authentication of purchase transactions in apps supporting Apple Pay. Apple has announced that Apple Pay will be launching in October, and iOS 8.1 is likely to be the update carrying that support, but the company has not yet flipped the switch to broadly enable it in this first developer seed.

While Apple has so far only announced that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Apple Watch will be compatible with Apple Pay, Sood has also turned up evidence suggesting next-generation iPad models will include Touch ID support and Apple Pay. The evidence comes in the form of a code string addressing support for the services:
Pay with iPad using Touch ID. With Apple Pay, you no longer need to type card numbers and shipping information.
It is unclear whether the upcoming iPads will include NFC technology for point-of-sale transactions or if Apple Pay support on the iPad will be limited to app-based transactions, but Apple's upcoming iPad have been widely rumored to see the addition of Touch ID.
Apple has plans to introduce the next-generation iPad Air in October, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times [Google Translate]. The site says the updated tablet will enter production in September, shipping next month.

Commercial Times also suggests that the next-generation Retina iPad mini might not launch alongside the iPad Air, coming instead in early 2015, with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to follow in the second quarter of 2015.

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Physical mockup of the second-generation iPad Air

While the rumor suggesting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be coming in the second quarter of 2015 is in line with previous rumors, there has been no prior indication that second-generation iPad Air and the next-generation Retina iPad mini will see separate launch timelines.

Previous rumors have indicated that both the Retina iPad mini and the iPad Air 2 will be introduced simultaneously at an event in October. Recently, a rumor suggested the two tablets could be introduced at an October 21 media event, but that prediction was quickly shot down by The Loop's Jim Dalrymple. Dalrymple did not, however, rule out an event at another date in October, so an October unveil of the two tablets remains likely. According to recent report from Bloomberg, the iPad Air 2 is in production and the Retina iPad mini 2 is entering production soon.

Both the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini are expected to gain updated A8 processors, camera improvements, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor first introduced with the iPhone 5s. Apple's iPad Air 2 may also gain an anti-reflective screen coating and it may also ship in gold, silver, and space gray, much like the iPhone.
With its iPhone 6 announcement completed, Apple reportedly is preparing a second announcement event that will will launch new iPad models, claims AppleInsider, citing a trusted insider familiar with the company's pre-launch logistics. The report points to the second half of October for the event, but The Daily Dot has gone a step further and predicted an October 21 event based on its own sources.
A person familiar with the company's pre-launch logistics says Apple has set internal project and marketing deadlines of mid-October, ahead of the planned unveiling of major new products during the second half of the month. That would align with an anticipated media event previously rumored to be held at some point during October. The same source who spoke to AppleInsider has shared reliable information on product introduction and timing in the past.
If true, the schedule would align with Apple's pattern for the last several years, which last year saw the company unveil its new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display in October with an availability date in early November. This year's event may introduce updated iPad models that include a faster A8 processor, anti-reflective display and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, although one report suggests most of the upgrades will be limited to the larger iPad Air model.

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iPad Air 2 mockup

Aside from new iPads, Apple is also expected to use the October event to finalize the details and availability date for OS X Yosemite, which was initially introduced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. According to The Daily Dot, Yosemite will be released immediately following the October event, similar to the release of OS X Mavericks just after the conclusion of last year's October event.

Other Apple devices in need of upgrades include the Mac mini, MacBook Air, iMac, and the Apple TV, but few details suggest updated these models will be updated before the end of 2014, particularly given Intel's delays with its next-generation Broadwell processors. One recent rumor has, however, claimed Apple may release a new ultra-high definition 27-inch monitor with 5120 x 2880 resolution in 2014, but details on this desktop accessory remain sparse.

Update 12:35 PM: Bloomberg is also reporting that Apple plans to introduce new iPads in mid-October.
Apple Inc. will unveil the next generation of iPad tablets around mid-October, a person with knowledge of the plans said, as the company bolsters its product lineup ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The report reiterates earlier claims that new iPad and iPad mini are already in production or soon to be so, while a larger 12.9-inch iPad is scheduled to begin mass production early next year.

Update 12:41 PM: The Loop's Jim Dalrymple says Apple is not planning an October 21 event. He does not, however, address the possibility of new iPads in that general timeframe.
In a bit of a surprise prediction, Apple may use its upcoming September 9 event to introduce the iPad Air 2 along with the iPhone 6 and iWatch, claims KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a research report released today. That plan would differ from Apple's announcement schedules in recent years that have seen the company unveil the iPhone in September and the iPad in October at a second press event.

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Physical mockup of the second-generation iPad Air

According to Kuo, Apple is preparing modest upgrades primarily for the iPad Air and not the iPad mini, because the larger iPad is more popular among consumers. While the iPad Air 2 is said to carry several improvements, including an anti-reflective display as previously rumored, the second-generation Retina iPad mini may receive only Touch ID support.
In light of limited development resources and the fact that iPad Air contributes more to Apple’s sales and earnings than iPad mini, we think that only iPad Air 2 will see a major upgrade in specs this year, including anti-reflective coating for the cover lens, full lamination for the touch panel, a gold-colored metal casing, an A8 processor, Touch ID/ fingerprint recognition and an 8-megapixel rear camera. iPad mini may be upgraded with fingerprint recognition, if any.
While Kuo doesn't address whether the updated iPad Air will be thinner than the current model, a recent report from Digitimes claimed the device will indeed be thinner, and a laminated display could help Apple shave a small amount from the device's thickness.

Kuo claims that the anti-reflective display and full lamination will push back availability of the iPad Air 2 until October due to production issues with this new display. This delay may be fairly immaterial, however, as Kuo predicts iPad sales will continue to lag due to tablet market dynamics that see customers retaining their older iPad models instead of upgrading.

Kuo has been among the most accurate analysts regarding Apple's product plans, having been first to correctly peg a number of features and launches over the past several years. He has, however, had some misses and so it will be interesting to see if his iPad predictions pan out.
ipad_air_family_20136After almost removing itself from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry two years ago, Apple is now leading the charge into the program's new Tablets/Slates category.

As of today, Apple's four iPad models account for 134 of the 135 tablets on the list, although the number of entries appear to be growing nearly by the minute. While Apple is represented by the various configurations of the iPad Air, the iPad mini, the iPad with Retina display and the iPad mini with Retina display, the sole non-iPad model currently on the list is the Dell Venue 11 Pro.

In a blog post announcing the new category earlier this week, Green Electronics Council CEO Robert Frisbee hailed the early inclusion of more than 100 tablets without mentioning that essentially all of them were Apple products.
We are pleased at Participating Manufacturers’ enthusiasm to register these new products. In less than one week more than 100 slates/tablets have been registered in EPEAT, and we expect to see many more in the weeks and months to come. These products are an exciting addition to EPEAT and an important step into reducing the environmental impacts of a major new product type. We are confident the new products are leaders in their category.
Apple has a bit of a rocky history with EPEAT, notifying the environmental assessment service in 2012 that it was withdrawing its products from the registry. At the time, Apple cited "changes in its design direction which were no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements" as the reason for this removal request.

Apple quickly reversed its decision after businesses, municipalities and other Apple customers publicly decried the withdrawal decision. EPEAT also responded with a pledge to work with Apple and possibly adapt its judging standards to be more compatible with the company's cutting edge product designs.

Apple's product lineup is now represented in several EPEAT categories, including desktops, notebooks, displays, integrated desktop computers, and tablets/slates. The company has earned a gold star rating for all of its eligible products, including its difficult-to-repair MacBook Pro with Retina display. This controversial gold rating has prompted some groups to accuse EPEAT of lowering its standards in order to include Apple on the list.
Earlier this week, photos claiming to be of a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector surfaced. The images were said to be sourced from Apple supplier Foxconn, and were shown in a production stage. Now, frequent iOS device part leaker Sonny Dickson shares a new photo of the accessory, further indicating that a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector may be on the horizon:

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The current Lightning cable (left) compared to new Lightning cable (right)

While the USB connector on the current Lightning cable is attached to the bottom of its metal housing, the connector of the supposedly newer cable is attached to the center. The structure of the newer cable was also spotted in previous photos, and likely indicates that this is a reversible USB connector. It is also therefore possible that the new Lightning cable could utilize USB 3.0 technology, as current Lightning cables support only USB 2.0. However, no other evidence suggests that the cable could be of the USB 3.0 variety.

Apple could start shipping new cables alongside forthcoming iOS devices starting with the iPhone 6. In addition to a reversible connector, the new Lightning cable could also feature support for high-definition audio playback on Made for iPhone accessories as rumored by Mac Otakara earlier this year. That report further claimed that Apple was preparing a new version of its In-Ear Headphones, which have not been updated since 2008.

Apple also introduced Lightning Cable MFi specifications for headphones in June, paving the way for manufacturers to create products that connect directly to iOS devices via their Lightning port rather than through a regular 3.5mm headphone jack. Those products could also see integration with revamped Lightning cables.
Apple's suppliers are gearing up to begin producing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, reports Bloomberg. Production for the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 is underway and according to the site's sources, the tablet will debut towards the end of the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. Production of the 7.9-inch Retina iPad mini 2 is also said to be beginning soon.

August production dates for both tablets are in line with rumors that have suggested the new iPads will be unveiled at a fall event (possibly October) that follows Apple's September 9 iPhone event.

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iPad Air 2 Mockup

Apple's iPad Air 2 may see some manufacturing issues that restrict available supply, however, due to a new anti-reflection coating that's being added to the tablet. The coating is said to make the iPad's screen easier to read.
Output of the larger iPad may be restricted by manufacturing complications related to the use of a new anti-reflection coating, which Apple plans to add to the device to make the display easier to read, said one of the people.
According to recent rumors, the iPad Air 2 and the second-generation Retina iPad mini will both feature form factors that are largely the same as Apple's existing iPad Air and Retina mini. The iPad Air may see some minor design tweaks including a new speaker grille with a single row of larger holes and a slightly recessed set of volume buttons.

Both tablets are expected to get upgraded A8 processors that are both faster and more efficient and Touch ID fingerprint sensors. The iPad Air may also gain an improved 8-megapixel camera.
China media sources (via GforGames) report that mass production of Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone is underway ahead of the phone's expected fall launch. These same sources claim the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has not entered mass production, further suggesting that the launch timeframe for this larger iPhone model is still uncertain.

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Besides the iPhone 6, Apple also is preparing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini for mass production starting in September. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPads, possibly alongside the iWatch, at an October event that also will likely be used to announce the public release of OS X Yosemite.

As Apple prepares to launch new iPhones and iPads later this year, the company's Asian suppliers are gearing up to boost production by as much as 85 percent by Q4 2014. Some of this increased production may be handled by Foxconn robots, "Foxbots", with the company reportedly deploying as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of up to $25,000 each.

Anticipation for Apple's fall lineup of devices is high, fueled by comments from Apple executives that suggest the company will enter new product categories with a device lineup that is the best it has had in 25 years.
During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

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Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.

Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.

In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted "significant innovation can be brought to the iPad", stating "[Apple] plans on doing that" and that the tablet category as a whole is still "in its infancy." Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor.

The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger "iPad Pro" which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple's plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.
According to a new report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple's third-generation iPad mini will be an "Air"-like model, featuring a design that shaves 30 percent off the thickness of the device. This thinness along with a powerful new A8 processor will be among the main selling points for the next generation iPad mini, claims the Asian sources (via GforGames).

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Mockups of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air from Apple.club.tw

While the sources of the rumor are given only as from the supply chain, the claim of a 30 percent thinner iPad mini seems to be an overly optimistic one. The original iPad mini measured 7.2 mm thick, and the device saw a slight increase to 7.5 mm with the move to a Retina display last year. The larger iPad Air moved in the opposite direction last year, slimming down from 9.4 mm in the fourth-generation iPad to match the Retina iPad mini at 7.5 mm.

A 30 percent reduction in thickness for the iPad mini would put it in the range of 5.25 mm, and how Apple would achieve such a reduction is unclear, especially given the increase in horsepower seen with the move to a Retina display last year. That move made the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini essentially identical with the exception of display size.

Apple is expected to release the updated iPad mini in the third quarter of 2014, likely following the iPhone 6 launch in September. Besides a possible thinner form factor and A8 processor, the next generation iPad mini also is expected to include a more durable Touch ID fingerprint sensor containing tin. Similar to the iPhone, the next generation iPad is expected to support iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party developers to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes.

Besides the iPad Air and iPad mini, Apple is rumored to be expanding its iPad lineup with a larger 12.9-inch iPad. Dubbed the "iPad Pro," the larger model may not be released until 2015, claims DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. This prediction echoes a earlier report from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo who also predicted a 2015 launch date for the oversized tablet device.
iphone_5s_touch_idA report from China Times (via GforGames) claims Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is expanding its 8-inch chip plant in order to produce Touch ID sensors for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. TSMC is planning to produce 120 million Touch ID units in 2014, a 233 percent year over year increase as the sensor expands beyond the flagship iPhone to other iOS devices.

In line with a previous report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, today's report claims Apple and TSMC are using tin to increase the durability of the sensor compared to the current version found in the iPhone 5s.

Supply chain sources say TSMC is scaling its mass production of new Touch ID units to begin delivery to Apple by early July, with third quarter production more than doubling over the previous quarter. A previous report had indicated that the first shipments of new Touch ID sensors began by early May, but these may still have been early batches for testing.

Similar to the iPhone's Touch ID, the iPad version will support the expanded functionality made possible by iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party apps to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes. Touch ID also is rumored to be part of a mobile payment system under development by Apple.

Recent leaks hint at how the next-generation iPad Air and iPad Mini may appear with a Touch ID module and other design refinements such as a changed speaker grille and recessed volume buttons.
Apple.club.tw shares an image of what appears to be models of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air.

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The iPhone 6 models have already been covered extensively, while we got the first glimpse of the purported iPad Air 2 just last week. The iPad Air 2 model was shown to depict Touch ID, changed speaker grille, and recessed volume buttons.

The new image doesn't reveal any more details except the depiction of Touch ID on the new iPad mini. This year's iPads have been widely expected to gain Touch ID capabilities. Apple first introduced the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system with the iPhone 5S, and will be extending it to allow Apps to begin using it with iOS 8.