No iPad Mini 3, iPad Pro Release Dates for 2014 as Apple Likely to Focus on 2nd iPad Air Bearing Fresh Killer Features – Analyst

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By Erik Pineda | February 16, 2014 2:32 PM EST

Apple fans will only see a single iOS tablet refresh this 2014, a new report said, and it will be the second iPad Air. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo, the third iPad Mini and the bigger iPad Pro are not arriving this year.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.

Instead, Apple will concentrate on the 9.7-inch iPad Air form-factor, which will be on its sixth generation by the time it will touch down later in the year. Recall that the fourth iPad was totally eclipsed by the first iPad Mini in 2012 but the original regained its stature when Apple decided to overhaul its inner and outer make.

Compared to the previous models, the current iPad Air is slimmer, lighter and sexier - the front panel hosts the same screen size but gone are the thick bezels that used to surround the tablet's viewing window.

Practically, the iPad Air is all-screen on the front portion plus the whole make, specifically in the thickness department, has been chopped down significantly. Sitting side by side with the iPhone 5S, the Air is bigger but it is definitely thinner.

With little doubt, consumers were drawn more to the iPad Air, which Kuo said should explain Apple's decision to give it the centre-stage for 2014.

Kuo's latest notes to investors was first picked up and published by Apple Insider.

As for the third iPad Mini instalment, the KGI analyst is convinced that Apple will likely skip a refresh of the compact slate this year, noting that even as the Mini 2 gained Retina display resolution at 2048 x 1536, total shipments since release date in late 2013 were relatively weak.

It is the iPad Air that is Apple's new money-maker on the tech giant's tablet business, the Apple insider hinted.

He added that even the rumoured 12.9-inch iPad Pro will not make in time for Apple's 2014 release calendar. One thing that will surely side-line the company's plans for a bigger iPad is the readiness of an iOS version that is optimal with a nearly 13-inch screen, Kuo said.

"Even if (a larger iPad) does make an appearance this year, shipments will be low," the analyst was reported by Apple Insider as saying, highlighting the likelihood that production issues will also hamper the iPad Pro's supposed late 2014 debut.

Apple fans can at least be assured that the sixth iPad is a mean monster in the making as KGI declared that the next iPad Air will be powered by an A8 processing chip that for sure is a step forward from the present model's A7 chip in 64-bit mobile computing standard.

The possibility is also high that the Touch ID feature, which Apple packed for the first time with the iPhone 5S last year, will be finally be part of the second iPad Air straight out of the box, again thanks to Kuo's latest projections, which in the past have been fairly accurate.

Another feature that appears to be a virtual shoo-in for the upcoming Air is the 2014 Office Suite build from Microsoft. ZDNet said in a report that the Office for iPad, codenamed Miramar is almost certainly to be issued this year, perhaps even earlier than the version that is being coded for the Windows 8 platform.

Should this be the case, Office will soon come to existing iPad models and would be hot for use by would-be iPad Air 2 buyers.

On its likely second half of 2014 release date, the second iPad Air or iPad 6 could also feature the following - Liquidmetal casing, sapphire glass cover and coating, wireless charging and iOS 8 - which are the killer features that are expected from the rumoured iPhone 6.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith / )
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.
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