IPad Rumor Roundup What Does Apple Have In Store For Its Next-Gen Tablets

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’re likely aware that Apple is holding a media event in Cupertino this Thursday, October 16. The keen-eyed amongst you will notice that that’s tomorrow!

We have laid out our expectations as to what will be shown off in around 24 hours’ time, including new iPad hardware, new Macs, OS X Yosemite, iOS 8.1, Apple Pay and more, but it is the foremost in that list that has most of us still clamoring for answers.

We’ve decided to piece together what we know about Apple’s next generation iPads to try and figure out exactly what the company has in store for its newest tablets. Let’s dive in…

Touch ID
Touch ID

First things first, Apple’s future iPads will feature Touch ID — that much is about as certain as it gets. Down with pass codes!

Since the tech debuted on last year’s iPhone 5s, we’ve been patiently awaiting the fingerprint scanner gracing us with its presence on Apple’s tablets. It would surprise no-one to see Apple roll out Touch ID to all of its iOS devices and, most recently, we’ve even seen parts leak that suggest it will be aboard next-gen iPads.

Don’t forget Apple’s also bringing its Apple Pay service to iPad, at least as a payment method in online stores, which requires Touch ID for authentication.

A8X chip
A8X chip

We heard earlier this year that Apple’s 2014 iPads would feature the same A8 chip that would debut in the iPhone 6, but recent reports point to a bumped A8X chip. The new system on a chip would likely represent an improvement in clock speed which is never a bad thing and would also perhaps aid some new software enhancements (more on that later…).


Along with an improved processor, the new iPads are likely to feature a 2GB Elpida RAM module if recent leaks are to be believed. This would be a significant improvement over previous iPads that have included 1GB of RAM since the third-generation.

Retina HD display with anti-reflective coating
Retina HD display with anti-reflective coating

With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple showed of its all-new ‘Retina HD’ display tech. It’s possible that the Retina HD moniker will also be applied to the new iPad screens. Part leaks suggest the display has been improved and, after digging into iOS 8 betas, it has emerged that iPad image assets are present in ‘@3x’ sizes, possibly pointing towards higher-resolution panels.

Another notable improvement to Apple’s iPad screens could be the rumored anti-reflective coating applied to them. While they won’t be as usable as E-ink devices in bright sunlight, they should be improved somewhat if this does turn out to be true.

Thinner chassis (iPad Helium?)
Thinner chassis

If you thought the iPad couldn’t get any thinner when the Air launched last year, think again. If recent mockups are accurate, the new iPad Air will be ridiculously thin at around 7mm (the same as the iPhone 6). I can’t wait to see people purposefully bending iPads and then complaining that their iPad is bent…

This thinner chassis comes at a cost, though. Gone is the silent/rotation lock switch from the side of the device, evidenced by recent internal component leaks.

Improved cameras
Improved cameras

iPadographers rejoice! The next generation Apple tablets are set to include improved snappers. The word on the street is that the new iPads will feature an 8MP rear iSight camera (on par in terms of pixel count with the current crop of iPhones) with the front-facing FaceTime camera getting a bump from 1.2MP to 1.5MP so your iPad selfies will look even better.


Apple Pay will be present on the new iPads in the form of a secure online payment method, but some have gone one step further and speculated that the new tablets might feature NFC tech, too.

Instead of being useful for paying with your iPad in stores as, well, that’d be silly, it could instead transform the iPad into the perfect point of sale device for facilitating Apple Pay transactions.

While this would certainly be neat and Apple would love to see more iPads adopted at retail and enterprise locations, given there has been no indication of this in the form of hardware and/or software leaks, I’d file this one under ‘probably not.’

Gold is best
Gold is best

Apple is reportedly set to smother the iPad in gold this year. While we got the gold iPhone for the first time last year, the iPad was left out in that regard. It’s time for Apple to put that right because gold is best!

Split-screen multi-tasking with iOS 8.1
Split-screen multi-tasking with iOS 8.1

Back to those software enhancements… With a bunch of chatter surrounding ‘size classes‘ and adaptive layouts in iOS following WWDC in June, plus a number of rumors suggesting it is on the horizon, split-screen multitasking appears to be heading to the iPad (particularly the larger variety).

The prospect of running two apps simultaneously would suggest that a little more horsepower will be needed under-the-hood. Good job the A8X and 2GB of RAM will be on board.

What about the new iPad mini and iPad Pro?
What about the new iPad mini and iPad Pro

While much of the above refers solely to the iPad Air 2, it should also be appropriate information for Apple’s next-gen iPad mini. Last year, the differences between the 9.7- and 7.9-inch flavors of iPad boiled down to screen size and $100 so there’s no reason why it couldn’t pan out the same this year.

We’ve heard significantly less chatter about the iPad mini specifically, so we don’t know for sure, but it is possible we’ll get a glimpse at that device on Thursday.

As for the oft-rumored 12.9-inch iPad, or iPad Pro, the latest rumors suggest a 2015 launch date.

Apple is said to be concentrating on meeting iPhone 6 and 6 Plus demand, and presumably ramping up iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 2 production, so is pushing back mass-production of the as-yet-mythical larger iPad until December. Could we see Apple unveil the device on Thursday with an “Early 2015″ release date (à la Apple Watch)? I doubt it.

Your predictions?

What do you expect to see from Apple’s iPad hardware unveiling on Thursday? Which features, upgrades, enhancements or surprises do you want to see revealed on stage at Town Hall? Let us know your thoughts below!

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