Apple Expected to Release A7X-based iPad and iPad Mini Models in Q4 2013 [Analyst]

Apple will release the next generation iPad and the iPad mini 2 during a separate event later this year. In a research note sent to investors, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst of KGI Securities (who has accurately predicted Apple’s product plans before) outlined his expectation for the iPad lineup from 2013 to 2014 (via MacRumors).

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His sources made him believe that both tablets will be powered by a new A7X chip, which means a huge processor upgrade for the iPad mini 2; the current model features an A5 chip.

The rumour mill was quite confused about the iPad mini 2 display: the same source once said the device will feature a Retina display, but then corrected its report saying that it won’t. Kuo believes that the iPad mini 2 will indeed feature a Retina display, for Apple to remain competitive with other high-resolution 7-inch tablets that are going to hit the market within 3-6 months.

Since iPad mini 2 will feature better resolution with retina display, we think its AP will have the same grade as iPad 5 – the A7X.

But we now believe that iPad mini 2 may be pulled in for launching in late 2013. Since other brand vendors are all expected to have a line-up of new high resolution 7-8” tablets to launch over the next 3-6 months, we think iPad mini 2 may lose its opportunity in the market if it is slated for introduction next year.

Despite minimal form factor differentiation and unchanged casing colors, we think the retina display will still boost iPad mini 2’s attractiveness. Although the model’s availability is small due to production issues, if iPad mini 2 gets an introduction and launch this year, it should be able to impact consumers and freeze their budget for other brand vendors’ tablets.

What’s interesting, though, is that Apple already is working on the third generation iPad mini model, which will be launched in early 2014, and will essentially be the lower-cost model: it will feature a non-Retina display and will be powered by an A6 chip. Considering Apple’s recent push for the low-to-mid-tier market (don’t take it for granted, the iPhone 5C is just a rumour yet, we are awaiting confirmation), this could make sense.

Speaking about the iPad 5, Kuo says that Apple will face manufacturing challenges due to its redesign, but everything seems to be set for a Q4 launch.