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Speculation surfaces re Retina iPad update and Mini pricing

More iPads incoming? A report claims that an upgraded Retina iPad will be announced next week at Apple's special event, alongside the rumored iPad Mini, which reportedly could cost $329 for the entry-level device.

Would Apple update the 9.7-inch Retina iPad already? A report claims it will.
Would Apple update the 9.7-inch Retina iPad already? A report claims it will.

Apple's 9.7-inch Retina iPad may get refreshed, according to a report. And a separate report offers some speculation about iPad Mini pricing.

The Retina iPad will get a Lightning connector like the iPhone 5, according to 9to5Mac, citing unidentified sources.

And, if true, that may not be all.

The updated 9.7-inch Retina iPad could address issues with the first-generation Retina product. That includes making it lighter and improving the LED backlight apparatus, according to a previous CNET report, based on comments from Richard Shim, a DisplaySearch analyst.

"We are seeing [Apple] work with panel makers to come out with a display that enables a thinner overall [product] with longer battery life," Shim told CNET in September.

Of course, it can't be emphasized enough that this is speculation, as a physical design refresh coming roughly seven months after the Retina iPad was announced would be an odd move by Apple.

In September, Shim said he had no definitive evidence of a finished product, as his sources were in the Asia "supply chain" of manufacturing and assembly companies, whose product supply status can change from month to month.

Another potential feature update is a new global LTE radio.

A second report at 9to5Mac said the Wi-Fi-only iPad Mini is likely to start at a "minimum of $329," while higher capacity models would get the standard pricing treatment: $100 and $200 premiums, depending on storage capacity.

The report couched this as a "best guess" based on information from unidentified sources.

Versions with 4G/LTE capability could get a $130 premium in addition to the standard larger storage capacity premiums.

That would keep the least expensive iPod Touch, at $299, cheaper than the cheapest iPad Mini.

And, finally, 9to5Mac says leaks point to a rollout of iBooks 3.0 at next week's Apple event.

Apple is expected to announce the iPad Mini and other products at an October 23 special event, which CNET will be live-blogging.

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