The note makes supply chain forecasts suggesting that assembly production of the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 will start with low-volume production this month, and enter mass-production in the final quarter. If the tablets were to be announced on September 10th, we would expect them to be much further along the production cycle by now.
As expected, both iPad models are said to use the A7X processor, which should see be a particularly noticeable improvement on the existing A5-based Mini.
There were a couple of surprises in the note …
First, it suggests that the rumored ‘low-cost’ non-Retina Mini will not be released until next year. The explanation offered is that 2014 was the original planned release date for all the new iPads, but that increasing competition in the market led Apple to bring forward the dates for the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2. If that is true, Apple will probably continue to offer the current iPad minis at reduced prices. As a guide, look at Apple’s refurb prices on minis.
Second, the iPad 2 is apparently going to continue in production. We would have expected Apple to end production of the device at this point: that and the iPhone 4/4S are the only iOS devices still in production to use the old 30-pin connector (yes Classic iPod too) in place of the Lightning connector used on everything else. The iPhone 4 and 4S are rumored to be ceasing production as of the launch of the new iPhones. Purely speculation here: What if Apple were to create a new version of the iPad 2 with Lightning connector and slightly updated chipset to keep a lower cost, non-retina option on the table?
Foxconn is said to be the sole supplier of the iPad 5, with iPad Mini 2 production split between Foxconn and Pegatron.
UnboxTherapy has a new video claiming to show the backplate of the iPad Mini 2: