The well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo released his predictions and research notes for Apple’s 2014 product roadmap today and, according to sources for Kuo, Apple will introduce new iPad Air and iPad mini models later this year that feature the A8 processor, and a Touch ID sensor. Kuo also says that prices for the current lineup of tablets will drop over the course of the year while Apple pushes a larger 12.9-inch tablet in 2015.
The second-generation iPad Air will be launching sometime in the third quarter of this year, according to Kuo’s predictions. This device will reportedly ship with the next-generation A8 processor (which will be manufactured by TSMC), an 8 megapixel rear camera, and a Touch ID sensor as originally seen on the iPhone 5s. On the iPad mini side of the equation, Kuo predicts that the next iPad mini with Retina display will receive similar upgrades.
In the note, Kuo gives light to why the two recent iPad models haven’t been selling as well as the Cupertino corporation hoped. He blames the thicker device form factor that Apple decided to go with so that it could incorporate higher-resolution displays. This happened with the introduction of the third-generation iPad, and Kuo says that Apple made the same mistake with its second-generation iPad mini.
“This change proved unpopular among consumers,” he wrote. “We think iPad mini with Retina display made the same mistake, explaining why it’s not selling as well as the previous generation of iPad mini.” The next version of the iPad mini will reportedly keep the form-factor of its predecessor, while Apple continues to sell the current generation model as a lower price.
To round out the iPad rumors outlined by Kuo, the analyst says Apple is working on a 12.9-inch iPad to “generate new growth momentum.” The device will reportedly focus on a “richer entertainment and productivity experience.” Kuo notes, however, that the larger “iPad Pro” will not reach the market before 2015 and that Apple is working on “new usability features” to pack with the device. “With the 12.9″ iPad, we think Apple will come up with a new user interface that’s more innovative and intuitive, so that input will be as efficient as a device with keyboard,” Kuo said.
When it comes to numbers, Kuo predicts that Apple will deliver a “flattish” year-over-year growth, with sales totaling bout 73.5 million units. What do you think of these rumors? Is a 12.9-inch iPad Pro something you would want? Is having Touch ID on an iPad important to you?