Apple’s fifth-generation iPad is expected to finally ditch the existing design and adopt a new form factor that’s said to be much like the iPad mini’s, according to a new report that has surfaced today. A physical model of the device indicates it will be significantly smaller in almost every way, with virtually no bezel down the sides of the display.
As for the iPhone 5S, that’s expected to be very similar to the iPhone 5 — as you may have guessed; while Apple’s new low-cost iPhone, which will reportedly launch some time this year, will be built with China Mobile’s 700 million customers in mind.
Jeremy Horwitz over at iLounge claims to have already seen a physical model of the firth-generation iPad, and it’s said to be a huge improvement over the fourth-generation — which still sports the same design that was introduced with the iPad 2. It’s “a lot smaller than one would guess was possible,” Horwitz says, with “virtually no left or right bezels” down the sides of the display (in portrait orientation). There’s just enough space above and below the display to accommodate the front-facing camera and the home button.
The device is also expected to be significantly thinner than previous models, with the same chamfered edges and curves as the iPad mini. Maybe have assumed that the device would look a lot like the iPad mini, which has been hugely successful since its release last November, and according to Horwitz, that’s certainly going to be the case. He believes the mockup above is a relatively accurate representation.
Horwitz notes, however, that Apple will need to make major changes to the tablet’s internals to get them in to such a small form factor. He speculates that the Cupertino company will finally adopt Sharp’s IGZO displays that we’ve been hearing so much about, which are expected to offer better brightness levels while consuming less power.
One of the reasons the third-generation iPad is slightly thicker than the iPad 2 is because it has a Retina display, which consumes more power and requires a bigger battery. With an IGZO display, however, Apple could provide us with the same screen quality we’ve become accustomed to with the iPad, without needing so much power. It is also expected to combine that display with a smaller, more energy efficient processor.
So when will we see this new iPad? Well, according to Horwitz, probably not until October. That’s a lot later than the March release many reports have been suggesting. Horwitz admits this part is “pure speculation,” but notes that the new display and the new processor may be not be readily available for a while.
Horwitz’s sources have also shared some information about the iPhone 5S, and the much-anticipated low-cost iPhone. The former is likely to look a lot like the iPhone 5, but is said to offer a larger rear-facing flash. The latter will launch during 2013, according to the source, and it will be developed with China Mobile in mind.
The iPhone is yet to make its way to China Mobile, but the carrier, which is the largest in the world with more than 700 million subscribers, is seen as a massive opportunity for growth for Apple — one the Cupertino company cannot afford to keep passing up. Its existing iPhones are said to be too expensive — the iPhone 5 sells for $849 in China, while the entry-level iPhone 4 costs $500 — in a country where the average annual salary is $3,000 per person.
The specifications for the budget iPhone are still unclear, but previous reports have suggested it will be made of plastic like the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.
Finally, Horwitz offers some information on the so-called “iPhone Math” — which is actually believed to be a mistranslation of “iPhone +” — the device that’s supposedly going to launch this fall with a larger display. Horwitz’s sources say that it is indeed in prototype testing, but it certainly isn’t expected for 2013. In fact, it may not launch at all; it’s said to be a “plan b” device that could be launched to battle Android as the demand for larger smartphones increases.
Image: Martin Hajek