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Discontinued iPad 4 may see return with 8GB iPhone 5C

Retired from production last fall, the iPad 4 could make an encore appearance as early as Tuesday.

Is Apple looking at an encore for iPad 4?
Apple Inc.

Editors' note: Shortly after this story was posted, Apple unveiled its new 8GB iPhone 5C and a $399 version of its formerly discontinued fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display.

Apple is reportedly planning a couple of iOS product refreshes, one of which could see the return of the iPad 4 to retailer shelves.

After reports Monday that the company was planning to release an 8GB iPhone 5C as early as Tuesday, another report suggested that Apple would also reintroduce the discontinued iPad 4 with Retina display. A source told 9to5Mac that shipments of the discontinued tablet are arriving at Apple retail locations along with instructions that the boxes are not to be opened until Tuesday.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last month that, in light of the iPhone 4's return to some markets, the iPad 4 would return to mass production as the company wound down production of the iPad 2.

Introduced in 2012, the iPad 4 came with a dual-core A6X chip, a rear-mounted 5-megapixel camera capable of capturing 1080p HD video, and a Lightning connector. But the fourth-generation iPad was discontinued with the launch of the iPad Air last October.

With retailers seeing tightening supplies of the $399 iPad 2, it appears that the encore of the more powerful iPad 4 is geared toward replacing the low-end iPad 2. The refresh would also allow Apple to officially transition away from its previous proprietary 30-pin connector as all of its current iOS device offerings would now be based on the 8-pin Lightning standard.