Apple is planning to hold an event on Oct. 22, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday, sparking speculation the company will update its second most popular product, the iPad, ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Apple will likely come out with a fifth-generation iPad that is thinner and lighter, with an improved camera and Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip, AllThingsD reported earlier on Tuesday. The second-generation iPad mini will have a retina display and the A7 chip, the tech news website added, citing unidentified people familiar with Apple’s plans.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment.
Apple launched the iPad in early 2010 and created a booming tablet computer sector that is still eating into demand for laptop and desktop computers. However, rivals including Samsung and Amazon have launched competing tablets that have taken some share of the sector and dented iPad sales growth.
That has left Wall Street yearning for a new product from Apple, so that the company does not become too reliant on iPhone sales.
“One of Apple’s big issues right now is that it is considered a ‘one-product’ story again,” Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note to investors Tuesday. “Apple clearly needs more than just one growing product to warrant a higher multiple.”
Reitzes reckons a revived iPad may be the second product Wall Street wants from Apple. If new versions of the tablet include Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip that could presage a device that can run work-related tasks much better, making it a more viable replacement for work laptops, he explained.
Apple recently said it will give away the iWork suite of software free with the its latest iPhone. Giving iWork away free with new iPads too could be part of a plan to take a “second run” at the PC market, Reitzes added.
“The iPad launch is still on schedule for October,” Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies, wrote in a note to investors Monday. Misek upgraded Apple shares to buy from hold.
The 9.7 inch iPad will be upgraded with a new “film-based” display that will make the device about 20% thinner and 30% to 50% lighter, Misek added.
A new iPad mini with retina display will be in short supply because of manufacturing problems, so Apple may only have 1 or 2 million units at launch, the analyst estimated.
The non-retina iPad mini will be priced aggressively at $299 to $279, down from the current $329, Misek said.
Courtesy of USA Today