Archive of iPad Mini Rumors

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.

ipad_air_2_replica_touch_id
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.

iphone_5s_6_grass
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.

ipad_air_family_20136
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).

ipad6
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.

ipad6
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.
As part of its Father's Day promotional push, Target is offering the 16 GB non-Retina Wi-Fi iPad mini for just $199 in either white or space gray, a savings of $100 over Apple's standard pricing. The offer is only valid in-store, although customers can purchase online for store pickup. Quantities do, however, appear to be very limited, as most stores are currently showing no available stock.

ipad_mini_target_199
The discounted pricing is valid through June 14, so customers looking to take advantage of the big discount should check back frequently if their local stores are currently out of stock.

(Thanks, Steve!)
Apple has introduced reduced education pricing for the iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini, offering both tablets at starting prices of $469 and $379, reports iGeneration (Google Translate).

With both iPads still showing a standard retail price starting at $499 and $399, the new education pricing totals to a $30 discount on the iPad Air and $20 discount on the Retina iPad mini and marks the first time that Apple has included the iPad in the special program. Apple is also offering special education pricing on the first-generation iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, as well as deals on refurbished previous generation iPads.

ipad_education_pricing
Apple previously cut education pricing on the non-Retina 13-Inch MacBook Pro to $999 last year, and also offers discounts on the entire Mac line in its education store. The discounted education pricing is available to employees of K-12 schools as well as faculty, staff, students, and parents of students at higher education institutions.
Apple announced today that it will begin offering the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini on Japanese carrier NTT DOCOMO starting Tuesday, June 10. Both tablets will be compatible with the company's nationwide Xi LTE service, as users will be able to pre-register for both devices beginning June 2nd at local DOCOMO stores and the carrier's website.
ipad_air_family_20136
"With the addition of iPad alongside iPhone, we now offer the complete lineup of Japan’s most popular mobile devices on the nation’s most reliable LTE network," said Kaoru Kato, President and CEO of NTT DOCOMO, INC. "We know our customers will enjoy using iPad Air and iPad mini, and anticipate that new customers will look to experience these amazing devices on our high-quality network with our new billing plan."

"We are extremely happy for iPad to join iPhone on NTT DOCOMO’s network," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "The results on iPhone have been tremendous, and we look forward to delivering iPad to NTT DOCOMO customers."
The iPad Air and Retina iPad mini were originally launched in Japan and a number of other countries last fall. The move also follows the launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on the carrier last September, marking the first time that Apple's phones were offered on DOCOMO. Since then, Apple has seen its share of the Japanese mobile phone market rise above 36%, with the iPhone accounting for more than 40% of phone sales on the carrier.
A new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicates that Apple will include Touch ID across all new iOS devices in 2014, boosting shipments and bringing the fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The report reiterates previous claims made by Kuo last month, which noted that Apple's next-generation iPads will feature Touch ID upon their releases this fall.

touchid
Apple’s Touch ID module should see shipments soar 233% in 2014. We believe every new iOS device launched this year will be equipped with Touch ID, including 4.7” and 5.5” new iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 2 with Retina display. Considering shipments of new products and iPhone 5S sales last longer than in 2013, we forecast unit sales of the fingerprint sensor module to grow 233% to 120mn for 2014.
Kuo also notes that Apple will change its Touch ID module design to utilize tin over previously used chemicals to enhance durability. Apple is also expected to stick with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its subsidary XinTec to produce the fingerprint sensors.

Last month, it was noted that TSMC provided the first batch of fingerprint sensors for the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. A report in January noted that TSMC would begin production on the sensors sometime in the second quarter of this year with a new 12-inch fab processing method, however a report in February stated that TSMC would be using the same 8-inch fingerprint sensor processing method used for the iPhone 5s.

Improved shipments of Touch ID will also likely help launch supplies of all three devices, as low yield rates of the component was said to be a key factor contributing to the limited supplies of the iPhone 5s at its launch last September.
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly provided the first batch of Touch ID fingerprint sensors to be used in the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, according to a new report from component information website cecb2b.com citing supply chain sources (Google Translate, via GforGames).

touchid
In addition to production at TSMC, the report notes that the fingerprint sensors are being assembled by TSMC subsidiaries Xintec and Suzhou Crystal Semiconductor. A report in January noted that TSMC would begin production on the sensors sometime in the second quarter of this year with a new 12-inch fab processing method, however a report in February stated that TSMC would be using the same 8-inch fingerprint sensor processing method that was used for the iPhone 5s.

The inclusion of Touch ID on the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini would also fall in line with predictions from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who noted that both devices would gain the feature alongside processor upgrades and various other improvements.

Apple's head start on Touch ID fingerprint sensor production will likely help the launch supplies of all three devices. The component was said to be a key factor contributing to the limited supplies of the iPhone 5s at its launch last September, with low yield rates at Xintec and iOS 7-sensor integration slowing production.
Since the release of the iPhone 5s last September, most observers have expected that the Touch ID fingerprint feature will be making its way into the iPad lineup as Apple is able ramp up production on the sensors, so it is no surprise that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month predicted that both the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini will be gaining the feature later this year.

Actual evidence of iPad Touch ID support has now been discovered by French iOS developer Pierre Blazquez, as noted by iDownloadBlog. The evidence comes in the form of a BiometricKit bundle in iOS that serves as the framework for the Touch ID functionality, with the bundle being listed as compatible with both iPhone/iPod and iPad families.

touch_id_ipad_biometrickit
Apple classifies its iOS devices into three families, with iPhone/iPod receiving a "1" designation, iPad receiving a "2" designation, and Apple TV classified as "3". BiometricKit is currently showing compatibility with both 1 and 2 families, although it is not exactly clear when iPad was added to the list.

Apple is likely to stick to its typical yearly upgrade cycle for this iPad generation, meaning that new iPads should appear in the latter part of this year. Kuo predicts that the new iPads will appear in late Q3 around the same time as new iPhones and perhaps Apple's much-rumored iWatch.

Update 9:07 AM: As noted by Benjamin Mayo, the reference has been around for "several iOS updates", but it still indicates that iPad support is likely in the works.