iPad Mini 5 and New Entry-Level iPad Said to Launch in First Half of 2019
DigiTimes made the claim today in a report highlighting stable shipment expectations for Apple's touch panel suppliers, Taiwan-based General Interface Solution (GIS) and TPK Holding.
Apple reportedly plans to launch two entry-level tablets in the first half of 2019, including a fifth-generation iPad mini and another entry-level iPad model, said the sources.
The claim follows a rumor carried last month by the China Times that Apple is preparing to launch a new iPad mini in the first half of 2019, followed by a new entry-level iPad in two versions, with at least one featuring a 10-inch display within a narrower frame.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in October that Apple is working on a new version of the iPad mini with an upgraded processor and a lower-cost display panel, with the device being launched in 2018 or 2019.
Ironically, Kuo's prediction came two months after DigiTimes said it did not believe Apple plans to introduce an updated iPad mini, and in fact has "no further plan" for the smaller tablet.
An alleged case for the next-generation iPad mini also surfaced in December that featured a vertical camera cutout, suggesting a camera arrangement similar to the iPad Pro with a rear flash, and a center microphone cutout.
Apple hasn't updated its smallest iPad since September 2015, but the device did receive a price cut in March 2017, with a 128GB capacity model costing $399.
As for the entry-level iPad, Apple was previously reported to be launching the two new low-priced versions in 2019 to boost the sales growth of its affordable tablet options. The 9.7-inch iPad was last updated in March 2018 and in the same month the year before that.
Today's DigiTimes report cites industry sources claiming GIS will supply over 40 percent of the touch panels for the new iPads, while TPK and China-based O-film Technology will provide the remaining 60 percent.