If you’re thinking about picking yourself up an iPad Air or iPad mini in the very near future, don’t. Word has it that Apple is on the verge of revealing the newest generation of its bestselling tablets in a little bit over a month. If you can wait a bit longer, you might be in for some sweet new features.
Word broke on Wednesday morning that Apple was reportedly planning to hold a press event on October 21, one that would likely be focused on showing off the second edition of the iPad Air and the third generation of the iPad mini. The Daily Dot broke the story of the supposed next iPad press conference, and it seemed pretty much in keeping with Apple’s pattern over the last few years. The 2012 iPad was announced on October 23, while the iPad Air was announced last year on October 22.
So a date of October 21 seems pretty sensible, no?
No, it turns out.
After the announcement, while tech news sites were breathlessly reporting on the supposed new iPad reveal date, noted Apple insider Jim Dalrymple posted on The Loop a simple response to the Daily Dot report.
That might not seem like the sort of deep-digging journalism that usually accompanies an Apple report, but – trust us – Dalrymple’s more connected to actual Apple insiders than just about anyone this side of Tim Cook. If he says “nope,” it typically means “nope.”
So Apple’s not showing off its new iPads on October 21, or at least, Apple hasn’t finalized plans to show off its new iPad Air and iPad mini on October 21. In all likelihood, the Cupertino tech giant will still be releasing new iPads this year, and Apple does tend to be pretty predictable in releasing its devices once they’re established. That means we can still look forward to new iPad Air and iPad mini models this year, so what can we expect when Tim Cook does wind up taking the stage?
Current speculation around the next-generation iPad models isn’t predicting anything revolutionary for this year, and that’s understandable. The look of the iPad Air isn’t likely to change too much, since Apple just introduced that form factor last year. It will still be impossibly thin and light, and it will probably be available in the same colors. The iPad mini isn’t poised to change much either in terms of looks.
So what will change? Both iPads are likely bound for a spec upgrade, but don’t think you’re going to get an ultra high-density display any time soon. As 9to5Mac notes, the iPad Air and iPad mini are likely to keep their 2048×1536 resolutions.
What will see improvement is the processor that powers the iPad Air and the mini. Apple will likely bump those both up to the A8 system-on-a-chip for the next generation. That chip – as it does with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – will give the new iPads a speed boost, but nothing mind-blowing. What the chip change will do, though, is increase battery life.
The new iPhones have equal or better battery life to the iPhone 5s in every metric, as Inquisitr pointed out last week, and those phones have bigger displays to power. The new iPad Air and iPad mini, if they pack the same resolution displays as their predecessors, will likely see even bigger gains in terms of battery life. That means you’ll spend less time tethered to a wall socket, which is always good, because who wants to waste his or her life plugged in?
We can also likely expect an improved camera on both iPad models. Current speculation has Apple bumping the iPad’s rear camera to an 8-megapixel sensor, while the front camera would get a 1.5-megapixel sensor. The latter fact means that your FaceTime chats and selfies will be a bit clearer, but that second item won’t have any big impact: you’ll still look silly taking pictures in public with your iPad.
The other big change is the addition of Touch ID for the iPad line. Apple didn’t pack Touch ID into last year’s models, likely because the company was having trouble producing the sensors in sufficient quantities. This year, though, will probably be different, and you’ll probably be able to unlock your iPad Air or iPad mini and make App Store purchases with just the press of a finger.
On the software end, we might finally see the addition of true, split-screen multitasking to the iPad line this year. There will also probably be tons of new features revealed involving the just-released iOS 8, though the rumor mill has been mum on just what those might be.
Whenever Apple does unveil the new iPads, we can also probably expect to see the release of Mac OS X Yosemite, which will bring new features that allow you work better between a Mac and an iPad or iPhone. The biggest news out of the forthcoming iPad reveal, though, could be the introduction of a third model of iPad, currently believed to be named the iPad Pro.
That new iPad model, according to rumors, has a bigger display with a higher resolution, and it’s said to be meant as a true laptop replacement, much like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.
Apple, of course, won’t say anything about anything until it’s good and ready, so new iPads could arrive sooner or they could arrive later. Stay tuned.
[Lead image via New York Times]