Digital Crave

Rumor mill: Pair of new iPads expected in March

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

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A fresh round of rumors suggest a new iPad and iPad mini are in the works for a March unveiling.

Based on an article published on Japanese tech site Macotakara, and reported in English by 9 to 5 Mac, a fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will be thinner and lighter than the existing model (from $499).

The unnamed “inside source” says the design of the new iPad is similar to the iPad mini (from $329), including its tapered corners and color options: black and slate or white and silver (similar to iPhone 5, too).

A March release would mark the same month that saw the launch of the first three iPads -- from 2010 to 2012 -- with the fourth-gen model the sole exception when it was quietly unveiled alongside iPad mini last October.

While Macotakara claims the next-gen iPad dimensions are just "4 millimeters in height, 17mm in width and depth of 2mm," 9 to 5 Mac suggests these numbers are how much smaller the next iPad will be compared to the existing iPad. In other words, subtract these numbers from the existing dimensions of 241.2 millimeters by 185.7 mm by 9.4 mm. By this logic, the new iPad will be nearly as thin as the iPad mini, which is just 7.2mm thick (2.8 inches).

Speaking of iPad mini, the same Macotakara report claims Apple is also working on a second-gen iPad mini. The new 7.9-inch tablet is said to have a Retina display (2,048 x 1,536 pixels) -- just like the third- and fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad. Along with less power than the full-size iPad, many critics cited iPad mini’s screen – at 1024 x 768 resolution and 163 pixels per inch -- as one of the shortcomings of the pint-sized tablet.

To give credit where it’s due, Digitimes had previously reported the next iPad mini would get a Retina display, and would be thinner and lighter, too.

In related news – er, rumors – Apple and Intel are collaborating on an iWatch that could also debut in a few months.

Chinese news portal 163.com says the Bluetooth-enabled smart watch will sport a 1.5-inch OLED touchscreen from RiTdisplay, and will wirelessly pair with nearby iOS products. Presumably, users can keep their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch tucked away in a pocket or purse yet still be able to see and access messages, photos, phone numbers, song info, and more.

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