Apple ready to release additional iPad model; likely 128GB version (Updated: Pricing)

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We’ve gotten word from sources that Apple is preparing to release (in some fashion) a single, additional iPad model. This would be a new SKU for the current fourth-generation iPad with Retina display line. At this point, we do not have pricing information, so it is definitely difficult to pinpoint exactly what this new iPad model is.

Here is what we do know:

  • It is a fourth-generation iPad, not a new design.
  • It comes in both the current black and white color options.
  • It comes in both WiFi-only and WiFi + Cellular versions.
  • It is a more premium SKU that will join the current line of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB fourth-generation iPads.
  • 10-pack deals (in both colors) for educational institutions will be offered.

With developers finding code in the soon-to-be-released iOS 6.1 that points to 128GB iOS devices, and with recent findings of 128GB references in Apple’s recent iTunes 11 release, speculation naturally points to Apple releasing a 128GB iPad in the very near future. While it is certainly plausible that this new iPad model is the 128GB iPad, we are currently not confident enough to outright claim that, but it seems likely based on the evidence.

Update: We’ve received pricing information for this new iPad model. The pricing is in line with a higher storage capacity, coming in at around $799 for the WiFi-only model and $929 for the Cellular-compatible model in the United States. So, new capacity sounds even more likely.

Here are the new SKUs via a source at a high-profile U.S. retailer:

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Photo of tweaked full-sized iPad shell with new, smaller Lightning port?

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The authors of blog Apple.Pro have posted a photo of what appears to be the shell for the upcoming tweaked third-generation iPad with a Lightning port. No other changes appear to be shown in this image. That is in line with expectations of this being a very minor refresh. Apple.Pro is known to have a fairly reliable track record when it comes to sharing images of parts for upcoming Apple products.

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Apple announces iPad mini media event for Oct. 23

Image via Engadget

Apple officially announced a media event for the much-rumored iPad mini scheduled for Oct. 23. Apple sent out invitations to the press today, as noted by The Loop. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. PST in San Jose’s California Theatre, as opposed to one of Apple’s usual venues. An Oct. 23 unveiling of the new 7.85-inch iPad would likely signal an early-November launch and international rollout leading up to the holidays. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple’s supply chain in Asia has kicked mass production of the iPad mini into full swing.

As we reported earlier this week, Apple will also unveil its 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display at the event alongside a refreshed Mac mini. We also showed you SKUs earlier today that hint at 24 new iPad models and refreshed iMacs.

Pricing for the iPad mini has been the biggest source of debate, with some analysts claiming Apple is not “cutting corners” on the iPad mini’s design despite trying to compete with pricing of 7-inch competitors from Amazon and Google. Yesterday, Bloomberg reiterated earlier reports that Apple is having production issues with the iPhone 5 related to scratching on the device’s aluminum back. With delays and shortages still making an impact on supplies of the iPhone 5, analysts have also suggested initial supplies of the new iPad will likely be constrained.

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New iMacs hitting retail, ship dates may be weeks away for some

Earlier, we posted new iPad SKUs showing Apple is likely launching 24 new models of the device. It is still to be determined whether the four variants in the SKUs include updated iPad 3 models with Lightning connectors or four iPad mini variants. Today, we also get a hint at what looks like updated 21-inch and 27-inch iMac models from the same SKUs.

Listed as “D7″ and “D8″ in the SKUs above, we see two refreshed models. They are presumably for the 21-inch and 27-inch variants that Apple currently sells. We have recently heard reports that Apple is planning to introduce new iMacs alongside what reports claimed were images of the refreshed iMacs’ internals.

There have also been rumors that Apple will begin selling the refreshed iMacs on Oct. 24—one day after the rumored date of the iPad mini launch event. We are not sure Apple will begin shipping any of the new models on Oct. 24, but we have heard at least some varieties will not ship at launch. However, the SKUs above are pretty good evidence that refreshed models are on the way. We will have more on that in the near future. Read more