Books & Review | Cole Garner Hill
Updated: Nov 20, 2012 01:29 PM EST

ipad mini

A visitor looks over the new iPad mini at an Apple event in San Jose.
(Photo : Reuters)

Less than a month after the debut of Apple's new iPad mini, and we're already hearing rumblings of more big things to come from the Cupertino tech giant. Apple will release the iPad mini with "Retina Display" in March 2013, a new iPad in September, and will debut an HDTV around $2000 in November 2013, reports Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Earlier this year Munster predicted Apple would announce a new TV in December 2012, and release it in the first half of 2013. Munster doesn't provide any reason for a change in his thinking, but his research note to investors reveals a potentially huge change-up in Apple's product refresh cycle.

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Here's how Munster thinks the next year looks for Apple:

March 2013: iPad Mini with Retina display, update the little Apple TV box, allowing to do accept apps from developers, and some sort of iTunes radio product.

June 2013: WWDC brings us previews of iOS 7, and OSX, as well as MacBook Airs with Retina displays. Look for Jony Ive's influence over iOS to start showing up here. 

September 2013: iPhone 5S, a "modest upgrade" from the iPhone 5. The iPad Mini gets a specs bump, and we get a new iPad, which is totally redesigned to look more like the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini.

November 2013: An Apple TV comes out. It should cost $1,500-$2,000 and come in sizes from 42-inches to 55-inches.

"Would Apple really release a retina iPad mini just six months after the original went on sale? (If so, expect it to cost $379), " said Cult of Mac.

Munster's research note to investors fleshes out whispers we heard a few weeks back from The China Times. The newspaper posited that Apple planned to release a revamped version of its iPhone 5 - the iPhone 5S - as well as a new iPad, and iTV "the middle of next year."

Citing unidentified industry sources, China Times reported that Apple is currently readying the devices, and will begin the trial production process for the "iPhone 5S" in December.

Digitimes claims that Apple's supply problems with the iPhone 5 have lead the company to accelerate "the certification process for related components for the iPhone 5S."

The report cites Chinese-language paper Commercial Times, who says that initial production volumes will be between 50,000 and 100,000 units of the seventh-generation iPhone.

"While the speculated iPhone 5S is expected to enter volume production in the first quarter of 2013, Apple is also likely to release a new version of iPad a quarter later than the iPhone 5S, since the display resolution of its latest version of iPad has come out lower than expected," reads the report.

It's likely Digitimes is referring to Apple's newly launched iPad mini, which is expected to be updated with a Retina display in 2013.

Based on Digitimes claims of Q1 volume production, Computerworld estimates that Apple could launch its next iPhone in June or July of 2013.

The site makes the point that while it might seem too soon for Apple to already be revamping its new iPhone, Apple could be ramping up its release schedule in order to keep up with the competition. "The company already demonstrated that it is willing to update its devices more frequently than once a year with the introduction of the iPad 4 just seven months after its predecessor," said Slash Gear.

"There is one other possibility," says ComputerWorld. "Apple may be on course to introduce a new breed of iPhone, not intended to compete with the classic model, but to widen the market with the release of a different kind of device."

The next iPhone could see significant changes, including the introduction of NFC, new processors and an iOS redesign following the recent executive shake-up at Apple.

"Apple has used the "S" at the end of a number of recent iPhone updates. The iPhone 3GS, like the iPhone 4S, came with the same design as their predecessors, but delivered internal components that increased speed and performance. It's possible Apple might be following the same strategy with the iPhone 5," notes CNET.

China Times didn't elaborate as to what "iTV" might be, but we've heard rumblings before with the name being used. In some cases, the iTV name is used to identify a possible television Apple is working on. In other cases, the iTV points to an updated Apple TV set-top box. According to some reports, that device could act as a DVR and accommodate cable programming.

Whispers of Retina display coming to the iPad mini surfaced from an Asia supply chain. AU Optronics a maker of iPad mini displays is working on a 2,048x1,536 pixel resolution display for the next iPad mini, reported Chinese-language DoNews in a story Nov. 7.

If accurate, that would mean the iPad mini's screen would have the same resolution of the 9.7-inch Retina display on the third- and fourth-generation iPads. And would translate to a 300-plus pixel density (versus the iPad 4's 264 pixels per inch) because you're packing the same number of pixels into a 7.9-inch display.

While we're usually cautious of putting to much stock in any rumor, Apple's ambitions to put Retina display in the iPad mini would certainly make sense. The biggest complaint early reviews have had with Apple's new, smaller iPad, is the device's screen, which many say pales in comparison to Google's Nexus 7 tablet, and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.

iPad Mini

Despite its higher-than-expected price point for the 7-inch e-reader/tablet market, reviews for the mini have been generally positive, with many loving its innovative e-reader features, and overall family friendliness.

The selection of educational book apps on iTunes has positioned the iPad mini to become the eReader of choice for kids, according to Carisa Kluver, founder of Digital Storytime, a children's book app review site.

"While the iPad mini's price point and portability make it an attractive holiday option for families," Kluver said, "it's the explosive growth on iTunes of quality book apps -- a hybrid of an eBook and a game - that make it irresistible in the educational technology world," says Kluver.

"Book apps often have narration, animation, music or text highlighting, all interactive elements that help kids stay with the reading material," Kluver said.

You can get an iPad Mini Wi-Fi model in three memory configurations: $329 for 16GB, $429 for 32GB, and $529 for 64GB. On Nov. 16, we'll see Wi-Fi + 4G models hit the shelves at $459 for 16GB, $559 for 32GB, and $659 for 64GB.

The 1,024x768-pixel resolution matches that of the iPad 2, but on a 7.9-inch display. "This definitely isn't Retina Display, but it's better-than-iPad-2 display. Videos look excellent, and the IPS screen has great wide-viewing angles," said CNET.

Includes a front-facing 720p-capable FaceTime camera, and a 5-megapixel back camera, and also supports 4G LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi at 5.2Ghz, Bluetooth 4.0, and will use Apple's Lightning connector, first seen on the iPhone 5.

Apple claims that the Mini has a 10-hour battery life.


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