By Jim Karpen on Mon, 07/15/2013
I love my iPad mini, and the big question for enthusiasts these days is whether Apple will introduce a model with a retina display this year. The rumors have been on both sides, with some saying it's coming and others saying it will take a while to work out the technical challenges. Now the latest rumor says we will indeed be seeing a refashioned iPad mini this fall, but no, it won't have a retina display. According to the not-always-reliable website DigiTimes, this fall we'll see a new thinner and lighter iPad with improved specs. This certainly fits Apple's usual schedule of alternating years, in which one year a model gets tweaked and the next year it gets redesigned. DigiTimes says we'll see a redesigned model in 2014, with a retina display and a new chassis that will be nearly bezel-free.
The DigiTimes report also says the 5th-generation iPad 5 expected this fall will use a new thin-film screen type of display that will make the device thinner and as much as 30 percent lighter. The post says production will begin this month, but doesn't say when it will be available. I'm guessing October.
I find both these rumors credible, especially since other independent reports have suggested that we won't see a retina iPad mini until 2014.
In other news, The Street is reporting that Apple is set to begin ramping up production of the iPhone 5S later this month. It's expected to have a form factor pretty much identical to the iPhone 5, but will have some new features, including a fingerprint sensor. I'm guessing this and the rumored low-end iPhone in multiple colors will be announced in September.
In addition, there continue to be rumors about an iWatch. The Financial Times is reporting that Apple has been aggressively hiring engineers in recent weeks to work on its iWatch. Apparently Apple's purpose is to bring in experts who can handle some of the technical challenges of the device that Apple hasn't been able to resolve. Sounds interesting. And it also sounds like it's still very much in the experimental stage, meaning there's no way of knowing whether such a device will ever come to market.
Apple is always experimenting, always developing products that may have potential. But it's very cautious regarding which ones it brings to market. It has to meet Apple's high standards and be the sort of product users will fall in love with. The formula has worked so far.
This report and others say that if we see an iWatch, it wouldn't be until the latter part of next year.