Analyst: Apple Will Release iPad Air 2 in 2014, Not iPad Pro

Source: Apple.com

Source: Apple.com

Well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo weighed in on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad product plans in a recent note to investors obtained by International Digital Times. Although there have been rumors that Apple would release a large-format iPad this year, Kuo predicted that the so-called “iPad Pro” would not be launched until 2015. This prediction aligns with a recent report from DigiTimes Research, the market research division of Taiwan-based media outlet DigiTimes. According to DigiTimes Research’s supply chain sources, Apple recently shelved its plans for a 12.85-inch iPad.

Kuo noted that an upgraded iPad mini with Retina display was also unlikely this year. “Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models,” wrote Kuo in a note seen by International Digital Times.

Instead of an iPad mini 3, Kuo predicted that Apple would likely launch a follow-up to its highly successful 9.7-inch iPad Air. “We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9-inch iPad,” wrote Kuo. “As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9-inch iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air.”

Although it is unknown what new features or upgraded hardware will be added to the iPad Air 2, many industry watchers expect that the device will be outfitted with the next-generation A8 chip. According to an unnamed Samsung (SSNLF.PK) official recently cited by ZDNet Korea, Samsung has already signed a contract to produce the upcoming A8 chip. The Korea-based company also supplied several previous generations of Apple’s chips. The upcoming iPad Air may also feature a Touch ID fingerprint scanner like the one that is used in the iPhone 5S. Finally, the next iPad Air model may also be equipped with a higher resolution display.

The iPad Air 2 is not the only new product that Kuo expects Apple to release in 2014. According to International Digital Times, the KGI Securities analyst predicted that the iWatch would also be launched this year. Recently leaked images of a health-monitoring app called “Healthbook” and Apple’s hiring of dozens of medical sensor experts has fueled rumors that the California-based company is developing an iWatch with health-related features.  

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