Samsung may have beaten Apple to the game with its 6.6mm thin Galaxy Tab S 8.4, but the Cupertino-based company plans to strike back later this year with a thinner tablet.
According to Chinese media reports, Apple's next iPad Mini will be 30% thinner than the existing models. If you do the math, the next generation iPad Mini is just 5.25mm thin! As a result, Apple is giving it a new name - the iPad Mini Air. It is said to be powered by the new Apple's A8 processor, which is said to be a 64-bit quad-core part built using a 20nm manufacturing process.
The fabled 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also mentioned in the reports; David Hsieh, who is the Vice President of the Greater China Market at DisplaySearch, reportedly commented that the larger iPad will not be released before 2015. David cited increasing competition from Samsung and stagnation of the tablet shipments as the key reasons for Apple to expand its tablet portfolio. However, this contradicts an earlier report by DigiTimes that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is scheduled for a launch in October 2014.
Apple is still the leader in the tablet space, but it is losing its lead due to stiff competition from Android tablet makers. In our recent 8-inch tablet shootout, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 got the edge over the iPad Mini with Retina Display in several aspects such as battery performance, design, handling and display quality. Perhaps an ultra-thin iPad Mini Air and a larger-sized iPad model will help Apple retain its top position in the years ahead.