In accordance with the information posted by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese tech industry news site, volume production of the fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will kick off in July-August 2013, although there have been rumors stating that a new full-size iPad will be introduced this month. The data posted in DigiTimes, which has a questionable track record with respect to Apple rumors, came from the site’s usual sources at Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Regarding the features of the new iPad, it seems that it will be lighter and thinner than the fourth-generation model with a slim bezel design similar to that of the iPad mini. The sources pointed out that the new iPad’s display would be supplied by LG Display and Sharp while the touch panel assembly would be conducted by TPK and the ITO thin film supplied by Nitto Denko and Teijin.
There have been many predictions regarding Apple’s next iPad. There have been sources anticipating that the new iPad would be launched in April, but only, as Rene Ritchie of iMore stated,”if it is ready”. However, there have also been reports claiming the device could launch as late as October of this year, along with an updated “iPhone 5S,” and a low-cost iPhone with a plastic body intended for developing markets.
Last year, Apple launched two iPad models, introducing the third-generation model with Retina display last March, as well as a fourth-generation model with a faster A6X CPU, Lightning connector and FaceTime HD camera in October. The fourth-generation iPad features the same 9.7-inch Retina display as its predecessor, powered by a new Apple-designed A6X chip that the company said delivers up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip.
In addition to the last year’s releases, this year, the company surprised again by launching a new, higher-capacity 128-gigabyte model in early February. It costs $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model while a variant with cellular connectivity runs $929. Besides from the increased storage capacity, the 128-gigabyte iPad with Retina display is unchanged from the previous fourth-generation models. It includes the Apple-designed A6X processor, a 9.7-inch Retina display, and a forward facing FaceTime HD camera.
Furthermore, after the launch of the iPad mini late last year, Apple’s smaller 7.9-inch model has reportedly been cannibalizing sales of the larger 9.7-inch model. Some reports have indicated that the iPad mini is already outselling the full-size iPad.