iPad 5 Rumor Roundup: What we know so far

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Apple is widely expected to unveil the highly anticipated 5th generation iPad at the media event on Tuesday, October 22nd, which will finally put an end to the rumors and speculations that started almost a year back.

So what can we expect from Apple’s next generation iPad?

Here’s a look at the new features and improvement that we can expect in the new 9.7-inch iPad. Most of them are based on the rumors and speculations we’ve heard so far. We’ve also sneaked in a few from our wish list:

Form Factor and Design

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Based on rumors and leaked parts, it looks like iPad 5 will sport an all-new design, mimicking the iPad mini that was unveiled last year.

It will come with more rounded edges rather than the curved edges of the iPad 3 and iPad 4, sleek metallic finish at the back and diamond-cut chamfered edges.

It is also likely to come with narrower side bezels while held in portrait mode, which should reduce the width of the device by 16mm or 9 percent.

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Leaked schematics also suggest that the iPad 5 will be a lot thinner than the iPad 4 with some rumors suggesting that it could be 15% thinner than iPad 4, which is 9.4 mm thick.

The iPad 5 is also expected to be significantly lighter than the iPad 4. According to some rumors, it could be 25% to 33% lighter than the iPad 4, which weighs 652 grams (Wi-Fi + LTE model weighs 662 grams).

Check out the video below, which highlights the differences between the iPad 5 and iPad 4 rear casing:

Display

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Apple is expected to use the same film-based touch panel as the iPad mini in the iPad 5 instead of the glass-based touch panel used in the iPad 4, which will allow it to reduce the thickness of the device. The “touch panel” specifically refers to the layer equipped with touch sensors, between the liquid-crystal display and the outermost cover glass.

However, we expect iPad 5 to come with the same Retina resolution as the iPad 4, which is 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi).

Faster Processor

iPad 5 will most likely be powered by a variant of the A7 chip that powers iPhone 5s. We expect Apple to call it the A7X chip based on the naming convention it used last year. The highlight of the new A7X chip will be the 64-bit “desktop-class” architecture. The A7X chip’s CPU will most likely be up to twice as fast as iPad 4’s A6X chip.

Apart from the CPU, the A7X also will also include a new GPU that supports OpenGL ES 3.0, a graphical library extensively used in games and photography apps. Earlier iOS devices supported OpenGL ES 2.0, but support for 3.0 means more detailed and complex graphics, previously seen only on PCs, Macs and consoles. We expect the GPU to also be 2X faster than the A6X chip.

a7 improvements

The M7 coprocessor may also be part of the package, but it won’t be as important in the iPad as it is in the iPhone.

RAM:

Rumors suggest that the A7X chip will come with 2GB RAM, twice the RAM available in iPad 4 and even the iPhone 5s.

Improved Camera:

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We expect iPad 5 to come with an all-new iSight rear camera and front-facing FaceTime camera. According to latest rumors, iPad 5 will come with an 8-megapixel camera.

It however remains to be seen if Apple will use the 8-megapixel camera used in the iPhone 5s or it will use the one used in iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. Apple has typically used the camera from the previous generation iPhone. So I think it would be latter.

Leaked iPad 5 rear casing also indicate that Apple is unlikely to include Flash in the new iPads, which is a pity as it has been one of the major drawbacks of iPad’s camera.

Touch ID

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One of the major new features of iPhone 5s is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. We’ve heard conflicting reports of the possibility of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor making its way to the iPad 5.

As an iPhone 5s owner, the fingerprint sensor is the must-have feature for me in the next iPad. It is so convenient to be able to unlock my device and authorize iTunes purchases with the press of my finger. I am so used to it already that I hate unlocking my iPad 4 with a passcode.

However, iPad 5 may not come with a fingerprint sensor if the supply of sapphire and other materials for the fingerprint sensor are limited. If Apple can’t make enough Touch ID modules to meet the demand for the iPhone 5s, it is highly unlikely it will release another device with the same technology.

It is also possible that Apple may want to keep the Touch ID as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 5s, it’s flagship phone.

Improved LTE support:

We expect iPad 5 to support 13 LTE bands (iPad 4 supported a max of 5 LTE bands) like the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. So the iPad 5 will be most likely be compatible with your carrier’s LTE network.

Stereo Speakers

There has been no rumors on this front. However, since the iPad mini comes with stereo speakers, it would be safe to bet that iPad 5 will also come with stereo speakers, and offer improved sound quality.

Battery Life

Though iPad’s battery life hasn’t been a concern, we hope that iPad 5 offers even longer battery life compared to iPad 4.

Colors

Recent rumors and leaked parts suggest the iPad 5 will get a splash of color like the iPhone 5s. We likely won’t see the pastels of the iPhone 5c, but we will probably get the gold, silver and space grey color options.

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Storage Capacities

We expect the iPad 5 to be available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB, just like the iPad 4.

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iOS 7.1

According to rumors, iPad 5 may come pre-installed with iOS 7.1. Unlike last year, Apple hasn’t seeded iOS 7.1 beta to developers yet, so have no idea about the new features.

iOS 7 has been quite buggy on the iPad, so we expect Apple to iron out all the issues in iOS 7.1. It remains to be seen if Apple will surprise us by adding support for multiple user account, which has been on our wish list ever since Apple launched the iPad. I think Apple will introduce the feature only if Touch ID makes it to the feature list.

Pricing

We expect the iPad 5 to cost the same as the iPad 4, so the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB iPad 5 Wi-Fi only models will be available for $499, $599, $699 and $799 respectively, and the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB iPad 5 with Wi-Fi+Cellular to be available for $629, $729, $829 and $929 respectively.

With the launch of iPad 5, Apple is also likely to offer 16GB iPad 4 Wi-Fi only model for $399, and the Wi-Fi+Cellular model for $529.

Release date

We expect Apple to start taking pre-orders for iPad 5 from October 25, followed by the launch of the new iPad on November 1st.

Conclusion

The thinner and lighter iPad 5 with iPad mini-like design, faster 64-bit A7 chip with 2GB RAM and vastly improved camera system should make it a significant upgrade even for iPad 4 users.

It will be interesting to see which of these features and improvements make it to Apple’s 5th generation iPad and if Apple has any other major surprises in store for us.

We’ll be live blogging the event so don’t forget to join us at 10am PT or 1pm ET or 6pm GMT on Tuesday, October 22nd. Until then, please let me know which features will convince you to buy iPad 5 in the comments section below.

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