Apple iPad Release Date Plot Thickens – iPad 5, Cheaper iPad mini 2 in 2013, iPad mini Retina in 2014

Apple iPad Release Date Plot Thickens - iPad 5, Cheaper iPad mini 2 in 2013, iPad mini Retina in 2014

A market analyst from Citi predicted in a new note to investors that the Apple iPad 5 and a low-cost iPad mini 2 could be released this fall as expected, but the Retina Display-supporting iPad mini could be delayed into next year.

According to Citi Research analyst Glen Yeung, Apple has three iPads in store for the coming months – the fifth-generation flagship iPad 5, the iPad mini 2 and an iPad mini with Retina Display.  Interestingly, Yeung believes the iPad mini 2 will, in actuality, be the low-cost iPad rumored quite a few times in the past.  And in yet another fascinating twist, Yeung forecasted in his note that once the iPad 5 is released this fall, the iPad 4 and iPad 2 will no longer be in production.  That could lead to a major switcheroo for Apple’s tablet lineup in terms of pricing and available options.

Yeung tends to agree with rumors of Apple taking cues from the original iPad mini and creating an iPad 5 based on the mini’s thinness, light weight and design lines.  He has a second half 2013 release prediction for the iPad 5, which is what most are expecting anyway despite executives from Gumdrop and Hard Candy fearlessly forecasting an iPad 5 reveal at WWDC 2013 and releasing iPad 5 cases to coincide with the event.  Apple may not turn to Intel for the iPad 5’s processor, as the chipmaker reportedly did not come to terms with Apple to be its supplier for 22-nanometer processors.  Still, Yeung’s prediction of the iPad 5 and iPad 3 being the only remaining full-size iPads in the market is quite an interesting one – what could that mean for the third-generation iPad’s pricing as a midrange option?

Apple’s business plans for its 7.9-inch iPad minis reportedly involves the release of an iPad mini 2 in 2H 2013 and an iPad mini Retina in 2014.  Yeung believes Apple will price the low-end base iPad mini 2 at around $230 to $250, with this version possibly coming without any cameras.  As for the iPad mini Retina, it may be released as a ”high-end” mini variant, either late in the fourth quarter of 2013 or early in the first quarter of next year.