Archive of iPad Mini Rumors

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.
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.

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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.

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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.
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"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.

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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.