iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3: What to expect

Summary:All eyes may be on the next iPhone but Apple also has tablets to think about, and it's very likely that these will be updated before the year is out.

Currently all eyes are on the iPhone, with Apple expected to unveil the iPhone 6 sometime during September. But Apple also has tablets to think about, and it is very likely that these will be updated before the year is out.

Let's take a look at what might be in the pipeline.

Release date

Apple has two tablets in its lineup – the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 (or iPad mini with Retina Display as Apple calls it) – and both were unveiled October 22, 2013, so both are due for a refresh. The sensible money is on both being replaced at around the same time again this year, which gets them both ready for the holiday spending extravaganza, which is traditionally a good time for Apple.

If you're thinking of getting an iPad over the next few weeks, you might want to hold off.

Pricing

I see no hint that Apple is getting ready to rejig the pricing structure, and as a result I expect that the base iPad Air and iPad mini models will stay at $499 and $399 respectively.

Storage

I keep hearing rumors that Apple could upgrade the base storage from the now cramped 16GB to a roomier 32GB.

That said, the cramped 16GB base model gives people the incentive to bump the storage up to 32GB. This costs the user $100, but only costs Apple some $10, so it's a big money-spinner. As such, Apple might keep the storage structure as it is for now.

Naming

While it seems likely that the iPad Air will be superseded by the iPad Air 2, naming of the iPad mini 3 could change. The current model is called the iPad mini with Retina Display, and adding a digit to this might make it unwieldy. A rumored alternative is to rename it the iPad Air mini, which unifies the naming conventions and keeps things simple.  

Processors

The current iPad Air and iPad mini 2 tablets are powered by Apple's A7 processor, with a secondary M7 motion coprocessor.

What I expect to happen is for the iPhone to launch with a new, faster A8 processor – which is likely to be a dual-core or possibly even a quad-core part running around the region of 1.5GHz – and that this chip will also power the iPad lineup.

If history is anything to go by, we can expect overall performance to double compared to the previous models.

The M7 motion coprocessor – which collects and processes data from the accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses – is also likely to be bumped, although the improvements are likely to revolve around power efficiencies than overall performance.

RAM

I've come across a number of credible rumors that suggest the iPad Air's RAM will be bumped from 1GB to 2GB, and that this bump will enable the tablet to have split-screen multitasking capability so it can run two apps simultaneously.

Display

Display sizes and resolutions are likely to remain the same, but there are rumors that Apple will be adding an anti-glare or anti-reflective coating to the device.

Other changes

Here are some of the other changes I expect:

  • Thinner, lighter … Apple's normal mantra.
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the new iPad Air.
  • Possibly a better camera and the inclusion of the two-tone flash from the iPhone 5s.

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPad

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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