iPad Air 2, 12-inch MacBook, Apple 'phablet' coming, says KGI analyst

A flood of Apple rumors hit Wednesday on the back of a report from an analyst known for relatively accurate predictions of future Apple products.

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An second-generation iPad Air is expected with an 'A8' processor and touch ID. Apple

Expect a redesigned 12-inch MacBook, an iPad Air 2, and a 5.5-inch phablet, according to an oft-cited purveyor of Apple rumors.

Among the reams of data from KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo released Wednesday are more detailed predictions of upcoming devices.

Here's an overview of the stack of predictions Kuo cited in his report, according to MacRumors.

iPad Air 2: The second-gen iPad Air will pack an Apple A8 processor and Touch ID (aka, fingerprint recognition). Kuo believes the Air 2 will launch earlier this year than last year's launch of the first-gen Air, premiered in November. Forecast to arrive in Q3 (third quarter).

Little is known about the A8 processor, but it would be logical to expect that Apple will take its "desktop-class" 64-bit computing strategy to the next level with the A8. A report this week from JP Morgan said the A8 processor may surpass Intel's power-efficient Core i5 processors in performance.

iPad Mini Retina: The iPad Mini Retina will be slimmed down a bit, to the same size and weight as the original iPad Mini. The Mini Retina has seen slow sales, which Kuo attributes to the fact that it is slightly larger and heavier than the first-gen Mini because of the Retina display. (Note that price likely has something to do with slow sales too, as the entry Retina model was priced at $399 versus the first-gen Mini's $329.) Forecast to arrive in Q3.

12.9-inch iPad: A large iPad will be targeted at entertainment and productivity (aka, professionals). Kuo repeated an earlier assertion that the product likely won't make it to the market until next year.

Separately, Asia-based reports and analysts have speculated that the so-called "iPad Pro" could be a hybrid of sorts that includes an Apple-designed keyboard. Forecast to arrive in Q1 2015.

12-inch MacBook: This is the long-awaited Retina version of the MacBook Air, according to Kuo. It will have a fanless design (like a tablet). "We expect the unprecedented 12 [inch] model will boast both the portability of the 11 [inch] model, and productivity of the 13 [inch] model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era," Kuo writes. This isn't expected until late 2014. Forecast to arrive in Q3.

iPhone 6 4.7/5.5 phablet: There certainly has not been a dearth of iPhone 6 rumors, so this part of the Kuo's report was probably the least revelatory. He essentially repeated rumors of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones while offering a few additional details.

The 5.5-inch model may be positioned as a phablet, according to the analyst. It will come out "later in the holiday quarter" and may eat into sales of the iPad Mini. The 5.5-inch model will pack a big battery with "50% to 70% more watt-hours" than the 5S.

Only the high-end phones, such as a 64GB version of the 5.5-inch device, will get a sapphire screen cover, according to the analyst.

The 4.7-inch model will be the most popular, Kuo claims, with full-year shipments hitting about 60 million units.

Expected screen resolutions for the two devices: Kuo expects the 4.7-inch model to come with a 1,334x750 resolution Retina display (326 pixels per inch), while the 5.5-inch model will boast 1,920x1,080 resolution (401 pixels per inch). So, both phones will have the same aspect ratio as the iPhone 5/5S, meaning apps will not need to be redesigned.

He also expects the devices to have a narrower bezel and an A8 processor. Forecast to arrive in Q3 (4.7-inch) and Q4 (5.5-inch).

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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