According to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, the next generation iPad and iPad mini may be released as soon as March 2013. White’s report comes in the wake of CES, and notes his observations from the trade show.
“Our checks at CES indicate Apple will release the iPad 5 and the second-generation iPad mini this March,” he wrote. “The iPad 5 is expected to be lighter and thinner than the iPad 4 that was released in October, while the form factor of the iPad mini should be similar to the first generation iPad mini that debuted in October.
This prediction is in line with a similar rumor that began circulating in December, when Japanese site Macotakara suggested a March release date for the next iPads. Macotakara also wrote that the new iPad would be 4mm smaller in height, 17mm smaller in width, and 2mm thinner overall. The design is said to be more in line with that of the ultra thin, lightweight iPad mini.
Since 2010, the iPad had been released on a yearly schedule, in March or April. In 2012, however, Apple released the third generation iPad in March and then released an updated fourth generation iPad in October alongside the iPad mini.
There’s no indication if the surprise release was a one time deal in order to incorporate a Lightning connector into all of the company’s products, or the start of a new six-month release cycle.
Rumors have also suggested that a second generation iPad mini would likely come equipped with a Retina display, much like Apple’s larger iPads. The lack of a Retina display was one the biggest criticism of the mini when it was released.
Though we are hearing rumors that another iPad could come as soon as March, it’s a good idea to take the news with a grain of salt. At this point, there’s truly no way of determining Apple’s future plans until March rolls around.