Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple's suppliers have now begun manufacturing the next iPad Air and iPad mini. Citing anonymous sources "with knowledge of the matter," the report says that the iPad Air could be announced as early as September, while the mini is expected to be available by the end of the year. In addition, Bloomberg says the new iPads will have an anti-reflection coating on the screen to make it easier to see in bright light. However, they also say that production problems with the coating could restrict manufacturing.
It will be interesting to see if sales of the iPad pick up when the new models are announced. In the past two quarters, Apple has had year-over-year declines in iPad sales. New features such as Apple ID, an A8 processor, and the anti-reflection coating could help boost sales. But more likely, Apple's recent partnership with IBM will be a big factor in increased sales, as the corporate market begins adopting the iPad on a much broader scale. The two companies are collaborating on over 100 software programs specifically tailored for the enterprise. In addition, IBM is optimizing their cloud services for iOS as well as creating packaged services for activating and managing devices. There will also be specific AppleCare offerings for the enterprise.
In advance of the new iPads, Apple has begun new marketing campaigns for the device, including two new videos in its "Your Verse" series. In one of the ads, Apple features two Chinese musicians who use the iPad to compose new tracks and to create rhythms during live performances. The other ad features a resident of Detroit who uses an iPad in his efforts to promote the city, employing it to manage every facet of an organization he founded.
I can't wait until they come out with the new iPads. I'm more than ready to replace my aging iPad mini, but will likely hold onto my iPad Air for another year.