The iPad 5 release date appears close, with a possible announcement less than two weeks away which could signal an end to the longest period between new iPad announcements for Apple since launching the iPad in 2010.
Apple’s previous timeline of announcing a new iPad in March was a bust for the iPad 5, and as we approach the busy holiday shopping season and the anniversary of the iPad 4 announcement, it looks increasingly like Apple is ready to announce and release an iPad 5 that will arrive in time for Black Friday and for gift-giving during Q4 2013.
Apple will likely call the new iPad simply, iPad with Retina Display, but it is the 5th generation iPad which means consumers and most retailers will call it the iPad 5 to simplify finding deals, cases, accessories and more. Even if Apple alters the name to match the rumored new design, expect the iPad 5 name to stick.
Thanks to a plethora of rumors, leaks, photos and videos we have a good idea what to expect from the iPad 5 when it arrives, but there are still some parts of the iPad 5 that remain up in the air.
The iPad 4 was essentially an “s” update to the iPad line, bringing a new processor and Lightning connection to the iPad in 2012, but delivering it in the same design and without significant feature additions. With the iPad 5, consumers and pundits expect something completely new for the larger iPad, and from the looks of things they will get it.
While many of the early iPad 5 rumors suggested the device would arrive in March or April ahead of IOS 7, Apple chose to keep the iPad 5 under wraps and save the device for a profitable holiday quarter.
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition arrives with an S Pen on board and new inking features that Samsung hopes will help the device compete with the iPad 5, despite the Note 10.1’s $50 higher price.
With a possible Apple event less than two weeks away, here’s a close look at the iPad 5 release date possibilities and the numerous new iPad leaks, rumors and predictions.
iPad 5 Release Date
The iPad 5 release date is still up in the air and while we don’t have the same history of fall iPad announcements and release dates to go on as we do with the iPhone, there is enough that we can make an educated guess.
The iPad 4 was announced on October 23rd at a special Apple event with a release date just a week and a half later on November 2nd. Apple announced an updated 128GB iPad 4 in February 2013, but this is not viewed as a new model.
MacGeneration claims Apple is holding an iPad event on October 15th. A Tuesday event in the middle of October would make sense, but there is still no confirmation of this event by Apple or by Jim Dalrymple, who normally confirms or denies Apple events with a Nope or a Yep.
If the iPad event takes place on October 15th, the iPad 5 release date could come as soon as Friday October 25th. At this point the date is a prediction based on Apple’s previous timing, not from a source with insider knowledge.
The iPad 5 release date could come with same day delivery thanks to pre-orders, or Apple could model it after the iPhone 5s release which forced users who wanted the new device on day one to line up at a retail location.
Multiple analysts point to an iPad 5 release date this fall with Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicting a Fall 2013 release.
iPad 5 Design & Display
The iPad 5 should come with the same 9.7-inch Retina Display users have come to love over the past two years, but in a new smaller package and with a new touch sensor.
The iPad 5 display will likely use the same screen technology we first saw on the iPad mini. This integrates the touch panel into the glass that sits on top of the iPad’s display. This allows for a thinner design.
When it comes to the iPad 5’s design, look for a bigger iPad mini with a higher resolution screen. Multiple alleged photos and videos point to an iPad 5 with smaller side bezels and a new curved edge design that looks just like the iPad mini.
The video below from SW Box, and image above, compares an alleged iPad 5 back plate to the iPad 4 and iPad mini. Users will not the back is thinner, narrower and slightly shorter.
- 15mm narrower than the iPad 4.
- 2mm thinner (slightly thinner than the iPhone 5s)
- 2mm shorter than the iPad 4.
Overall leaks point to an iPad 5 that is more portable thanks to this new design. We’ll need to wait for the device to arrive to be certain, but Kuo believes the iPad 5 will be lighter as well.
The iPad 5 may come in space gray instead of black, like the iPhone 5s. Leaked photos show an iPad mini 2 in gold, which could mean a gold iPad 5 is incoming as well.
The video from Unbox Therapy shown above includes a leaked back for what is likely the space grey iPad 5 along with a black iPad 5 front panel giving a better look at what the iPad 5 could look like and hinting that Apple will adopt the iPhone 5s colors.
iPad 5 Features & Specs
The iPad 5 specs and iPad 5 features are still hard to nail down. The Retina Display is a given, but a TOuch ID fingerprint sensor, for example, is tougher to call a sure thing.
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac is dubious about the iPad 5 arriving with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Sonny Dickson shows a photo of the iPad mini 2 with a Touch ID sensor and claims, “And Yes Touch ID is coming to the iPad Mini 2,” in a tweet at the end of September.
At this point it would be odd to see Apple add the Touch ID to just one of the new iPad models. One factor that could hold things up is supply chain issues stemming from the production of the Touch ID sensor, which Jeffries & Co analyst Peter Misek cited as a reason for iPhone 5s shortages.
The iPad 5 will likely ship with an Apple A7 or A7X processor. The iPad 5 may include the M7 motion co-processor found on the iPhone 5s, though that is not as certain considering the iPad is less portable.
If this is the case the iPad 5 could sport a 64-bit processor, which has the potential to deliver a better iOS 7 experience. On the iPhone 5s product page Apple describes the power of IOS 7 and a 64 bit processor,
“And iOS 7 was designed with that in mind, built specifically for 64‑bit architecture. Which makes iOS 7 just as advanced as the iPhone it’s on.”
In the real world this Apple A7 or A7x processor should deliver faster app startups, snappier performance than iOS 7 on the iPad 3 and iPad 4 as well as better gaming abilities, which games like Infinity Blade 3 could push. This new processor could also pair up with iPad cameras to enable burst mode and slow motion, though this is based on iPhone 5s features, and not a leak.
The smaller iPad 5 design could pose a challenge for delivering the battery life the iPad is known for, but Apple was able to increase the overall battery life of the iPhone 5s compared to the iPhone 5 with a slightly larger battery, smaller components and smarter software, so there is hope.
iPad 5 Software – iOS 7.1
Apple is already testing iOS 7.1 and while history dictates this update would typically roll out in 2014 several months after the iOS 7 release, Apple may have other plans.
Currently iPad performance on iOS 7 is sluggish for some users, which may come thanks to a greater focus on the iPhone during it’s creation and the late start for iOS 7 iPad betas.
The iPad 5 is an opportunity for Apple to deliver an iOS 7.1 release to users and possibly to include new iPad specific enhancements. iOS 7.1 could bring iCloud Keychain to the iPad and iPhone in time with an OS X Mavericks release.
iPad 5 Carriers
The iPad 5 will certainly sport LTE on the three major carriers and there is a good chance we will see at least one new iPad 5 carrier option this fall.
The iPad 4 LTE is available on AT&T, Spring and Verizon right now. With T-Mobile carrying the iPhone 5s at launch we expect a T-Mobile iPad 5 timed with the other major carrier options.
It’s unclear if there will be a U.S. Cellular iPad at this time. There is a U.S. Cellular iPhone on the way according to the company, but we don’t have an release date yet, or firm details on plans to carry an iPad with 4G LTE.
iPad 5 Price
When it comes to the iPad 5 price, don’t expect changes. Competitors like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX may be making in roads when it comes to cheaper prices and attractive consumer features, but Apple appears solid on the $499 iPad starting price for the latest generation.
We anticipate Apple will continue to compete on price with an older iPad and with the iPad mini. We could see the iPad 4 replace the iPad 2 making Lightning connectivity and a Retina Display standard, or Apple could cut it off like it did with the iPhone 5 and iPad 3.
Either way, look for a 16GB iPad 5 starting at $499 with a 128GB iPad 5 coming in at $799 in WiFi only. The iPad 5 with LTE will likely range from $629 to $929 without contract options. Most carriers do not sell the iPad with a contract, but will from time to time offer a $100 discount for signing a contract with an iPad, which is not a great deal for most users.