Will Apple’s iPad 5 Come Out In April?

According to the ever-churning Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rumor mill, we could be looking at an iPad 5 as early as April. “We believe that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April,” explained Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “Over the past two years, the spring event has been iPad updates.”

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Apple has yet to release any official statements on the matter, but reports predict that the iPad 5 will have a body design similar to the iPad mini and an upgraded Retina display. There may also be a wider variety of new color options. The rumored new casing could be supported by leaked photos obtained by 9 to 5 Mac.

Android-powered competitors have gained a bit of momentum in recent months, but Apple still holds an impressive 43 percent share of the tablet market. The tech company already released a beefed-up 128 GB version of the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display on February 5 for $799 (Wi-Fi) or $929 (Wi-Fi plus cellular). This February release has led some to speculate that there will not be a new release until the fall. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also predicts a Q3 launch.

Global tablet sales soared last quarter, with worldwide shipments reaching a record 52.5 million units — a 74 percent increase over the previous quarter. “We expected a very strong fourth quarter,” says IDC tablet research director Tom Mainelli, “and the market didn’t disappoint. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

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Samsung‘s share of the same market more than doubled year-over-year, from 7.3 to 15.1 percent. Apple’s rival is due to release their new line of Galaxy Tab 3 tablets, ranging in size from 7 to 10.1 inches.

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