When it comes to news about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming products, most of the media’s attention has been focused on the iPhone 6 and the rumored iWatch device. The iPhone 6 is widely expected to give Apple an extra iPhone upgrade boost this fall due to the rumored debut of two models with larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The wrist-worn iWatch is rumored be Apple’s entry into the burgeoning health-related wearable tech market and is expected to increase the appeal of Apple’s overall ecosystem by strengthening the communication links between various products. Amid all the hoopla over Apple’s next-generation iPhone and the new wearable tech product, some industry watchers may have forgotten that Apple is also expected to refresh its iPad product line this year.
A new report from Korea’s ETNews suggests that the production of Apple’s next-generation iPad Air is on an accelerated schedule and may even be ready to launch by September. Last year, the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display launched in November. According to unnamed industry sources cited by ETNews, production of the display for the iPad Air 2 kicks off sometime this month at LG Display (NYSE:LPL). Next month, display production will also ramp up at Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Sharp.
Production of the next-generation iPad’s application processor, camera module, and other major parts will also start in July, according to ETNews’ sources. While the iPad Air 2 will maintain the same 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution that is found on the current flagship model, the device will be outfitted with several other hardware upgrades.
Not surprisingly, the iPad Air 2 is expected to come equipped with Apple’s next-generation A8 processor. According to ETNews’ sources, the A8 processor will feature a performance that is 50 percent higher than the current A7 chip. The iPad Air 2 will also be the first iPad to feature the Touch ID fingerprint scanner technology that was introduced on the iPhone 5S.
Besides getting the standard boost in processing power, Apple’s iPad Air 2 will also feature an upgraded camera. According to ETNews’ sources, the upcoming iPad Air 2 will be equipped with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera instead of the 5-megapixel camera found in the current flagship model.
On the other hand, there are some aspects of the iPad Air 2 that will be the same as last year’s model. Apple will maintain the same 7.5 millimeter thickness and standard 469 gram weight, or 478 gram weight for the Wi-Fi plus Cellular model. Although ETNews’ report did not specifically address the iPad mini with Retina display, it is widely expected that the small format iPad will also feature a similar level of hardware upgrades.
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