Apple’s (AAPL) Next-Generation iPad, iPad Mini Release Date Set for March

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a research note on Friday, claiming that Apple (AAPL) plans to launch revisions of its iPad line in March, with a 5th-generation iPad and a 2nd-generation iPad mini.

White said checks with industry insiders at the Consumer Electronics [CES] expo in Las Vegas indicated that “Apple will release the iPad 5 and the second-generation iPad mini this March. The iPad 5 is expected to be lighter and thinner than the iPad 4 that was released in October, while the form factor of the iPad mini should be similar to the first generation iPad mini that debuted in October.”

White’s comments are in agreement with a previous report from Japanese blog Macotakara which also pointed to a thinner and lighter 5th-gen iPad launching in March. RBC’s Doug Freedman had also made an earlier claim that Apple was accelerating its upgrade cycle for the 2nd-generation iPad Mini, with the new model likely to have upgraded components, such as a faster A6X processor.

Not mentioned in White’s report was whether or not Apple’s next-gen iPad mini would get the retina display treatment.

If these reports are correct, it will mean that Apple’s current lineup of iPads, rumored to be 4mm, 17mm, and 2mm smaller in height, width, and depth than the current models, had only a 5 month new store shelf-life. That’s a rather accelerated turn around time for a company like Apple, which has historically waited 12-months before releasing updated versions of its iOS devices.

AAPL on Friday lost $3.21, or 0.61%, to $520.30.

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