iPad Air 2, Mini 3 Release Date Nears as Apple Begins Mass Production of Next-Gen iOS Tablets

By @ibtimesau on
Apple Ipad tablet
IN PHOTO: An illustration picture shows application icons on an Apple Ipad tablet held by a woman in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, February 4, 2013. Reuters

Volume production of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 has already started, according to a new report, adding that release dates of the upcoming tablets will come separately in the last four months of 2014.

Bloomberg, pointing to "to people with knowledge of the matter," has revealed that manufacturing activities for the two iPad refreshes are now underway but the devices will likely touchdown on different target dates.

The second iPad Air, the report said, will arrive either in late September or early October 2014 while the iPad Mini 3 will not materialise until December this year.

The later debut for the smaller iPad is caused by production constraints, which Bloomberg said will also impact on the bigger iPad.

"Output of the larger iPad may be restricted by manufacturing complications," claimed the report, explaining that an additional feature - an anti-reflection coating - will likely make it harder for Apple's iPad manufacturing partners to deliver the required bulk shipment on time.

The anti-reflection coating, which escaped speculations so far, will make it easier for users to view clips and images or read text on the iPad.

Note, however, that while the Bloomberg report is clear on the iPad Air 2 featuring an anti-reflective coating on its 9.7-inch display panel, the same is yet to be confirmed for the iPad Mini 3.

No other fresh iPad features were included though it was suggested that the 2014 versions are envisioned to drive growth for the Apple business, which has seen sequential sales declines in the past two quarters.

In order to lure in more buyers for the new model, rumours are rife that many of the popular iPhone capabilities will be ported to the Air 2 and Mini 3 - among them the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that Apple had introduced with the iPhone 5S.

Analysts also expect the two iPads to be boosted by a more powerful and speedy A8 processing chip, which like the A7 CPU will be in 64-bit mobile computing standard. But it is unclear if the new iPad powerhouse will come in quad-core.

In terms of external enhancements, it is believed to that two iPads will offer fewer tweaks this year and will largely carry over the trimmed down form-factor and lightweight build that was seen with the slates' rollout in late 2013.

Also, it is likely that soon after the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 launch this year, another release date is planned by Apple between January and March 2015, which according to analysts is for the enterprise-geared and productivity-centric iPad Air Pro that will boast of 12.9-inch tablet screen.

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