iPad Air 2, Mini 3 Mass Production Begins: 5 Feature Upgrades Likely for Sept-Oct Release Date

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By Erik Pineda | June 12, 2014 12:00 PM EST

The iPad Air 2 release date, along with the iPad Mini 3, appears on course in the latter months of 2014 as reports from Asia indicate that volume production of the two devices has entered the early phase.

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.

According to Business Insider, quoting reports from South Korea's ET News, Apple's iPad contractors in China have commenced on their manufacturing duties this June specifically for the display panels that will be used for the two 2014 iPad models.

The assembly is expected to ramp up in the following month with focus on the new camera components and the processing chips that will find their way on the upcoming iOS slates, said the same report, en route to a launch date that likely will be in the last few months of the year.

Also, the Korean report plus some of the recent iPad speculations have provided key details of the possible specs and features that the two iPads will show off, five of which are briefly discussed below:

Power-efficient A8 processors

As anticipated, the 2014 iOS devices will draw their power from the 64-bit A8 chip processor that naturally is mightier and faster than the A7 chipset that it will bump off.

But the most exciting benefit that the A8 will bring to the table is its super-efficient energy use, thereby boosting the refreshed iPhone and iPad battery performance, Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac said in a report.

8MP main shooter

From being a side-accessory, it appears now that Apple intends to make the iPad camera one of the core offerings of the tablet as ET News claimed that from 5MP in the first iPad Air, the next iteration will boast of an 8MP rear cam.

It is expected too that all the feature upgrades packed with the iPhone 6 shooter will be replicated on the iPad Air 2 and perhaps on the Mini 3.

FaceTime enhancements

The front iPad camera is also slated for an upgrade - its sensor jumping from 1.2MP to 1.5MP. The step up may not be that much but it will certainly lead to better user-experience with the FaceTime and Photo Booth applications, according to Gurman.

Touch ID

Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities reported in April that Touch ID will be in wider deployment this 2014, meaning the fingerprint reader will arrive too on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The feature is said to have been redesigned for easy integration with third-party applications and developers.

For would-be iPad buyers, the concrete gain is being assured of a smoother and more secure mobile device payment experience.

Multitasking on iPad

Eagle-eyed developers have detected the presence of iOS 8 codes that support the introduction of slit screen on the iPads and possibly the new iPhone builds, specifically the 5.5-inch iPhone phablet. This is a long-delayed iOS feature that Apple needs to deliver this year in order to match the multi-window capability that Android and Windows device users have been enjoying for quite some time.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 release dates will happen as a singular grand event that Kuo said will be earlier than last year's rollout, likely between September and October 2014.

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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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