Apple expected to rev up iPad

2013-10-21 08:42

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San Francisco – Apple is expected to rev up its iPad line as the tablet market heats up with competition from devices powered by software from Google and Microsoft.

Analysts agree that iPads will star at an invitation-only event to be held in San Francisco tomorrow on the cusp of the prime year-end holiday shopping season.

“Job One for Apple is to get something out there on the large-size iPad that gets people excited, then obviously from a specification focus, the Mini needs to catch up with what everybody else has done,” NPD analyst Stephen Baker told AFP.

“There are a lot of other things happening in that large-size tablet space and there is a huge amount of choices in smaller devices.”

Tablets face mounting competition from touch screen notebook computers powered by Microsoft Windows software.

“Apple will ... be number one in large-size tablets probably for a long time, but the definition of competition will change,” Baker said.

Apple is also under pressure to adapt to the popularity of premium tablets with high-quality screens in the 18cm to 20cm range where the Mini competes.

Emailed invitations to the Apple event revealed little other than the time and place, and bore the message: “We still have a lot to cover.”

A graphic in the shape of an iPad showed Apple’s iconic logo under a shower of colourful leaves.

Unconfirmed reports are that Apple will show off a new version of its full-size iPad that will be thinner than its predecessor and boast improved camera capabilities.

Scrutiny of Apple’s supply chain has industry trackers thinking the new iPad will get “narrower, thinner, and lighter” and possibly be built with processors at least as powerful as those used in the freshly-launched iPhone 5S, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.

An upgraded version of the iPad Mini with an improved screen is also expected.

Apple was also expected to discuss its computer operating system and its MacBook laptop line at the event.

The company is coming off a wildly successful launch of two new iPhone models last month. It estimates selling a record nine million iPhones in the three days after launching two new versions of the smartphone.

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