The next-gen iPad: What to expect

(Apple)

(Apple)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 3:41 PM ET

If Apple sticks to its recent product launch pattern then the official unveiling of not one, but two new iPads is expected before the end of October. So, should you hold off on buying a new tablet until they launch?

The simple answer: if you're in the market for a new iPad, rather than any other type of tablet, then yes. Because if nothing else, the next-generation iPad is expected to contain a 64-bit rather than 32-bit processor and to be able to take full advantage of a whole new slew of apps that could start rolling out over the coming weeks and months, optimized for this much beefier processor.

So buying into the new technology will future-proof the investment for longer.

But as well as better graphics and faster app-loading times, what else is the next full-sized iPad rumoured to have? A smaller physical form, thanks to a different bezel design that would make the device narrower and lighter while preserving its existing 9.7-inch Retina display. Then of course it is expected to come in the same range of finishes -- space grey, silver and gold -- that decorate the company's current flagship iPhone, the 5s.

Analysts and experts are still split on whether or not the iPad will also have the fingerprint-sensing Touch ID system, but a video suggests how perfectly the technology could fit into the new iPad's case and home button. Other improvements over the fourth-generation model are expected to include bigger, better cameras (up to 8 megapixels) on front and rear and a better battery life -- not that the current iPad was lacking in this regard.


iPad Mini
The full-size tablet's smaller sibling is expected to get a better, higher resolution Retina display to bring it into line with the best 7-inch Android tablets currently on the market -- such as the Nexus-7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, but according to a recent report from Reuters, initial availability of the device will be scarce.

According to its sources, production of the HD screen is only now ramping up, suggesting that stocks would either be very limited over the rest of 2013 or even non-existent until 2014. However, like the full-sized version, the Mini is also expected to get an 8MP rear-mounted camera and possibly even fingerprint recognition too.

The suggestion that Apple may be having problems with the display also indicates that the company is focused on battery life. When the initial Mini launched 12 months ago, its less than high definition screen was selected for two reasons: to make it sufficiently affordable to most tablet-buying consumers; and to not put any undue strain on battery life.

Big processors and millions of pixels are all very well as long as the owner is also prepared to carry a charging cable with them. Because of the tablet's smaller size, Apple wanted to make sure it was as mobile as possible. That means lasting a day between charges.

And when can we expect to see Tim Cook and co take to the stage to announce their latest products? The consensus from tech forecasters seems to be Tuesday, October 22.


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