By Jim Karpen on Thu, 04/18/2013
The website Alibaba.com is already selling dozens of different cases for the iPad 5. According to reports, Apple typically gives case manufacturers specs far enough in advance so they'll offer accessories by the time the device launches. It's not unreasonable, therefore, to make inferences about the forthcoming model based on what Alibaba.com is selling. And all of the evidence again suggests the new iPad 5 will have thinner bezels (or borders) on the sides, just like the iPad mini, which means the device will be narrower while retaining a 9.7-inch screen size. The cases also suggest that, as rumored, it will be much thinner. And I'm hoping that means it'll also be lighter.
Apple is saying nothing, as usual. It's part of the company's game. Because it has been so innovative over the years, it knows people will be eager to hear what's next. And the tech giant realizes this rumor industry is invaluable advertising, and so it stokes the fires of curiosity by being tight-lipped. Another factor is that if people know all the details of a forthcoming product, they'll stop purchasing the devices currently available, which slows sales and impacts quarterly results.
Some market analysts are saying, though, that Apple needs to communicate more. Apple could get away with silence when it was driving the market. But these analysts say Samsung is now driving the market with its onslaught of new models. If Apple doesn't say anything, people will increasingly gravitate toward other devices. I don't know if I agree with that, but it's clear that the dynamic has changed.
In any case, we're at the stage of the rumor cycle where photos of components start emerging. It's possible the new iPad could launch as early as this summer. It will be fun to see if there are any surprises. I'm still hoping for state-of-the-art IGZO technology. That will be a real game changer — a display that uses up to 90 percent less power.