iPad rumors swirl around new design, Oct. 22 event

iPad rumors: Apple sources have been whispering about a fall iPad event for months, and now it looks like the rumors are confirmed. What can we expect? Lighter, thinner, and Touch ID equipped.

Lee Jae-Won/Reuters/File
A student tried an Apple iPad Mini at an electronics store in central Seoul, South Korea, on Jan. 18, 2013.

If you’re thinking of buying a new iPad before Oct. 22, you better wait.

AllThingsD confirmed an earlier report by CurrentEditorials that the new round of iPads will be debuted by Apple on Oct. 22, citing sources familiar with Apple plans. Sources say the invitation-only event would likely release a fifth-generation iPad, a second-generation iPad mini, and a roll out of the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks operating system. Though Apple declined to comment, this hasn’t stopped experts from speculating about the upcoming event and likely new features.

What can we expect on this new iPad? Thinner, lighter, and maybe fingerprint scanner enabled. Leaked photos and videos show off a full-sized iPad that weighs similar to the current iPad Mini, and is slightly thinner in surface width. It will also likely run on the speedy 64-bit A7 processor. An updated 8-megapixel camera with a larger aperture is also rumored, plus more color options. No rainbow array (a la iPhone 5C) yet, but sources have guessed at an iPhone-matching chrome and “goldpagne.”

The Mini, on the other hand, is looking at similar upgrades as well as the addition of a high-resolution "retina" screen, which would catch the device up with iPhones and the current iPad, and bring a sharper-looking screen to the Mini. But the roll out may take longer than expected. Reuters reports that retina display suppliers only recently started gearing up mass production, which would make it tough to meet likely demand for Christmas.

And will we see fingerprint-scanner Touch ID tech on the iPads? Rumors say yes, but nothing is confirmed yet. Keep those Touch ID-capable fingers crossed for now.

The new Mac Pro is also expected to be announced with a release date sometime in December. Apple showed off the device designs in June, along with the new OS X Maverick operating system, so it isn’t unlikely that the official announcement will join the iPad event.

This announcement date is exactly one year from the previous iPad launch, and Apple has hosted an October release event every year since 2010 (likely just in time for the Christmas rush).

This year, that date also coincides with the sale date of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablets and Nokia’ s “Innovation Reinvented” event. Is this Apple flexing its agenda-defining strength in the face of competitors? PC devotees would wholeheartedly say yes, but it can’t be said for sure given the precedent. It may have just been Apple’s release as regularly scheduled. Regardless, it is likely to overshadow Surface 2 sales news and Nokia launches.

Location is unknown, but previous events have been held at the California Theatre in San Jose, Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Media usually receives invitations about a week in advance, so stay tuned to find out if the rumors are set to come true.

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