Apple's fifth iPad serving is due for release on Q3 2013, a Taiwan-based analyst said, underscoring too that the bigger tablet is taking on the form-factor that made the iPad Mini a global hot seller.
Quoting market research firm TrendForce, BGR News pointed to a mid-year rollout for the original iPad, which will hit the market fully-overhauled, inside and out.
The massive redesign, of course, is meant to rejuvenate the once mighty 9.7-inch iPad. Latest figures have indicated that while the Apple slab remains a top-choice for consumers others have caught the attention of gadget buyers.
Ironically, the one competition that poses the biggest threat is 'an enemy within' - the iPad Mini. Apple doesn't seem to mind and is in fact 'copying' the very features that allowed the Mini to collect 23 million buys during the December 2012 quarter.
"The next generation of iPad will apply the thin GF2 touch module of the same level as iPad mini and use the narrow bezel panel design," BGR reported TrendForce as saying in a research note.
With the adjustments, Apple is looking to address "the issue of larger volume, thickness, and weight that have been criticized to gain a better balance for consumers in mobility and visual experiences," the note added.
But the more exciting news is the strong possibility of a major price cut, not for the older iPad models but for the iPad 5 (tentative name). This will be caused by the savings Apple has realised in employing a new display component for its regular-sized tablet.
As iPad 5 makes its market entry, Apple will likely wind down production of the older models and in particular, the iPad should gradually disappear from the scene beginning this year, TrendForce said.
"The long-beloved iPad 2 is expected to retire with honour with the reveal of new iPad," the research firm added.
Analysts have been arguing that with the emergence of the compact tablet class, manufacturers would be compelled to abandon bigger sizes and focus on developing smaller but more powerful tablets.
Apple, however, appears adamant on staying the course with its original iPad business model. Earlier, the tech giant bumped up the iPad 4's storage capacity to 128GB, emphasising that the move is geared for the enterprise use of the bigger iPad.
The reconfiguration positioned the Apple tablet in a direct collision course with Microsoft's Surface Pro, which also comes in a 128GB variant.