DigiTimes of Taiwan reported this week that "supply chains are ramping up production for components used in Apple's soon-to-be-released 9.7-inch iPad." The report firmly indicates that the worldwide rollout for the device is coming very soon.
In a separate article, the same publication noted that Apple has started offering tempting discounts for its 2013 iPads, particularly the iPad Mini 2 that boasts of a Retina display panel. The promo, as in previous years, normally points to the nearing arrival of new models as Apple and its retail partners begin the process of clearing out old stocks.
And with Apple's suppliers in Asia, where the two 2014 iPads will be manufactured, getting busy at this time, it is fair to assume that the iOS 8-powered slates will get unboxed in the next few months.
Analysts are expecting no major exterior upgrade for the Air 2 and Mini 3, which the latest DigiTimes report is affirming - at least in the case of the bigger Apple tablet.
"Sources said the new (iPad Air) model will remain unchanged in terms of size and resolution," the report said.
However, buyers will still be treated to significant bumps ups and one of them is a thinner and probably lighter build from last year's version. It should be noted that the fifth-generation regular iPad was the subject of the device's biggest makeover since it was introduced in 2010, giving it a lean and lightweight profile while retaining the 9.7-inch screen size.
It is unclear how the iPad Air 2 will achieve a thinner finish from its immediate predecessor.
The report also affirmed the two specs and features that numerous analysts have been attributing with the upcoming device for some time now. The mention of "an enhanced processor" obviously refers to the A8 application processor that will power both the iPhone 6 and the Air 2.
It is believed too that the Touch ID fingerprint reader first seen in the iPhone 5S last year will be extended to the tablet this 2014 as earlier predicted by well-known Apple watcher Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, which the DigiTimes reports also touched on.
If mass production of the iPad Air 2 as well as the iPad Mini 3 will start soon or already underway, as DigiTimes suggested, the actual release date can be expected soon after a reported October 2014 event set by Apple.