iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3: What to expect

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.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iPad
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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While it seems likely that the iPad Air will be superseded by the iPad Air 2, naming of the iPad mini 3 could change.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

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Talkback

30 comments
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  • Rip-off prices.

    What to expect.

    1. Rip-off prices
    2. No SD card support
    3. No USB port
    4. New marketing propaganda to fool consumers.
    5. iHealth services aka "diet pills"
    Owl:Net
    • Please Go Away......

      Please, [please.....
      earljgray
      • Owl is here because ZDNET want him here...

        to troll comments. Otherwise they'd have dropped the ban hammer long ago.
        Retterdyne
    • No one cares

      Nobody wants an iPad with all kinds of jangly hanging things and wires falling off of it. It is the thing that the ABAers just can't seem to piece together.... "more is more" just isn't all that true.

      The prices are high, no question. I think that's where Android comes in, and where Apple needs to respond.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • nobody wants it because

        You haven't been told you want it yet.
        Blogsworth
      • Prices are actually somewhat comparable.

        I'm actually an android guy myself and have no intention of buying an iDevice. But when it comes to comparing prices you have to compare like products. I just got a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 inch that I'm extremely pleased with. But....its almost exactly the same price as an iPad mini. So Samsung's top of the line matches up price wise with Apple.

        The big difference when it comes to prices is that with Samsung also offers lower end, lower priced devices. For example I could have gotten a Galaxy Tab 4 in 7", 8" or 10.1" for $179, $249, or $299 respectively (on Amazon). Apple chooses not to play in the low to medium market.

        One thing that does make my Tab S cheaper though is storage expansion on micro SD cards. With the iPad mini I could have paid $100 to add 16 GB more storage, but with the Tab S it was $42 for a 64GB micro SD.
        cornpie
        • Nexus 7 is cheaper

          Kind of what I've been eyeing, as it doesn't seem to compromise on specs either.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • Your Galaxy Tab S 8....

          I love that tablet! But! I couldn't get a data plan with it. I wanted not only Wi Fi but data as well. I was "forced" to get the mini-retina for the preferred size and data. Are there any options? My plan is with FL Verizon. How bout other providers? Welcome any responses.
          birdiesbuddy
    • Think positive

      1. Awesome,
      2. Amazing,
      3. Beautiful,
      4. Incredible,
      etc
      Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01juIe7dG1Q
      Sacr
    • Rip-off prices. Just like the Surface Pro 3 you mean....

      Mock Apple, Chrome and Android all you like Owl:Net but the fact is they are infinitely superior (and more popular) than Microsoft products.
      5735guy
      • Infinite Hyperbole belongs to your post

        I am not defending Owl. I am criticizing your post. MSFT has plenty of excellent products. So does Apple. Several excellent products use Android. The Surface Pro 3 is an excellent piece of hardware, that costs a pretty penny to make. You may not like it anymore than I like a MacBook Pro, but I know the MBP is a well built machine. Don't fall into the Owl or Orandy trap of broken record rants.
        Luke Skywalker
    • Hissy Fit!

      Don't sweat it, Owl:Net, it's not your money. People can do as they please with their $$$$
      Your hissy fit is useless.
      Zippinglou
    • Some of you Windows trolls

      just don't get it.
      rag@...
  • Adrian? really?

    Your prediction is just a little on the obvious side, the one thing I did get out of this is they probably will not talk about this in early Sept. (what they will talk about in Sept. is anyone's guess) and wait until Oct. to announce predictable hardware upgrades, and the finger print thing (which many folks could care less about, like everyone locks their tablet at home?) and maybe an anti-glare screen, yippee!
    dougvb@...
    • Adrian has to fill his post quota

      Even with sub-par work.
      Blogsworth
  • Its not about the Hardware....

    Its ultimately how OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 will marry together.
    5735guy
    • So 5735guy

      You mean you will get the toaster-fridge combination after all but when Johnny tells you it's good.
      Blogsworth
      • Very little likelihood of that

        Apple has taken a very different approach to convergence - they want you to own multiple devices that can hand off to each other (i.e. a Mac mid-edit in iWork hands off to an iPad that picks up in the same place.)

        Microsoft wants to sell you a single unit that can do it all, so that you don't have multiple devices.

        I think Microsoft's probably right in the (very) long term, but the "smooth hand off" thing is a perfectly valid play for present day.
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • You can still have multiple devices on the Microsoft path (or Ubuntu)

          The difference is that the user would select the device they want to engage with base on the form factor and not based on the limitations of the operating system of the form factor they want to engage with.

          So they could have a tablet and a laptop, with both offering everything they might need no matter what that may be or where they are. Then they could pick whatever device to use or travel with based on the physical aspects of the device.


          or like you said, they could just buy one device and have it cover the functionality of two other device.
          Emacho
        • Re: Apple has taken a very different approach....

          Indeed. The difference is although Apple are making significant changes to OS X the underlying system is still fundamentally the same Desktop operating system.

          OS X Yosemite is a controversial release amongst many existing Mac users and to an extent myself included I shall be keeping a partition with OS X Mavericks on and dual booting with OS X Yosemite as I already have Developer Preview 6 so I might as well keep it on there and go the distance.

          Apple have recognised that the 'one size fits all' approach does not work. Its not just Microsoft that applied it but Canonical tried similar with Ubuntu and have all but failed. It is only Apple that are aware that Touchscreen has no place on the Desktop.

          It was time for OS X to have a refresh and for many it will be welcome and no doubt will attract fresh interest in Macs.
          5735guy