Blog

Apple iPad 5 Release Date, News, and Rumors

Posted: 26th August 2013
By: AHMAD MUKARAM
Apple iPad 5 Release Date, News, and Rumors

Fewer events bag as much attention across the world than Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) product release events. This is largely due to the company’s status as the “innovator” in the market, along with the anticipation of the possible impact these product launches are expected to make in the vast array of related fields.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to anyone when these events are also subjected to massive rumoring and speculation. The latest in line of these events is the recent launch of iPhone 5S and 5C (Cheap), however, the focus of this report is to narrow down the scope (as much as possible) for the release date of the Apple iPad 5.

Currently, the market is flooding with the many theories about the upgrade in the iPad series. Most of these theories draw their assertions from the data coming out of numerous sources; each varying in their credibility, as well as the limitations and biases. Of course, some of these theories are bound to be more accurate than others, but unless a source is in a softball league with Apple’s top executives, it is only reasonable to derive conclusion(s) only after putting these theories to test against various analytical techniques and the web intelligence tools.

For this reason, I’ve organized three of the most widely acclaimed speculations of 2013 related to the iPad fifth generation launch. Using Recorded Future’s Temporal Analytics™ Engine will allow me to assess the validity of made claims, and to see if this could assist with narrowing down the scope for the Apple iPad 5 release date.

It is also important to understand a distinction can’t be made between a reliable hypothesis and a mere rumor without having to explain the fallacies, or highlighting the contradictions that eventually contribute in equating a certain theory to a baseless rumor.

Following is a timeline view of the three most popular speculations related to an iPad release.

Apple iPad 5 Release Date Speculations Timeline

Click image for larger view

iPad 5 Release Date Rumor #1: End of Q1

Why did this speculation fail? Well, it appears to be based on three assumptions:

Product Release Rhythm

Let’s take a closer look at the dates. The first iPad: announced March 10, 2010. The iPad 2 was unveiled on March 2, 2011. And the third generation was unveiled on March 7, 2012. Of course the fourth variant, alongside the iPad Mini, showed up six months later on October 23, 2012, upsetting the expected rhythm, and apparently replacing it with another.

Nevertheless, it was inadequate to make various circles within iOSphere cynical about the month which has traditionally witnessed releases or at least upgrades to the iPad series.

New Release Cycle for an Additional Variant

The launch of iPad Mini at half the iPad’s commercial cycle gave certain folks the impression with an additional variant in the product line, Apple would reform its product release/upgrade cycle in a manner each subsequent year would likely witness two launch events; possibly in March and November.

Apple Product Release History Timeline

Click image for larger view

Reactionary Strategy Against Market Competition

On March 14, 2013 Samsung released Galaxy S4, leading some to believe Apple is keeping their powder dry and would run the next hardware announcement as a spoiler when the Galaxy S4 first reaches the store.

iPad 5 Release Date Rumor #2: June 2013

This rumor owned relatively more weight when a couple of reports emerged on various media outlets including International Business Times, featuring information from “credible inside sources.”

(We all know how well that usually works out. Don’t we?)

These rumors also carried the weight of increasing time span as it was already seven months since the upgrade in iPad series, the last launch in November 2012. But these rumors also proved to be all wrong yet again. Some of Recorded Future’s past reports such as “All About Apple” by Baloo provided hints that could have helped debunk this rumor prior to the time span it suggested.

Here is a network diagram which explains the reason for failure:

Apple iPad 5 June 2013 Release Rumor

Click image for larger view

For the network diagram above, I analyzed the data with these combinations: Organization and Product, Product and Technology, Product and Person. All the events hint at the same outcome (i.e. certain release date or timeframe) but at the same time are totally contradictory in their rationale. The connected data was disorganized and lacked any factual connection (as demonstrated by mostly single isolated threads).

It’s also important to note big media outlets are refraining from indulging in speculation. The release date rumors out there are mostly via individual blogs, commentators, reviewers, and independent organizations.

This apparent contradiction is an indication of bandwagon opinions in a market where there is little or no evidence present to support the claim.

iPad 5 Release Date Rumor #3: Fall 2013

The idea is, just over a year after announcing the iPad Mini and the quietly updated fourth generation full-sized iPad, Apple will introduce the follow-on models “in time for holiday shopping.” Clearly, that’s a good idea.

Statements from two of Apple’s top executives add weight to the case. “We are laser-focused and working hard on some amazing new products that we will introduce in the fall and across 2014,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. He also added “we’re working on stuff we’re really proud of,” while CFO Peter Oppenheimer said the company is “on track to have a very busy fall.”

The “fall” leaves us to determine which of the last three months of 2013 Apple is likely to release the next generation iPad.

Production for iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2

Citing data from market research firm IHS iSuppli, CNET reported display production for Apple’s second-generation iPad Mini is now at a level “similar” to that seen when the tablet was first unveiled in November 2012. The publication also adds to the claim Apple’s tablet will sport a high-resolution retina panel.

The firm’s director of mobile and emerging displays, Vinita Jakhanwal, noted volumes are similar to the fourth quarter of last year. LG Display is expected to be the primary screen supplier for the Retina iPad Mini, at least initially, with existing Apple partner Sharp expected to follow later in the production cycle.

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal said Apple may add Samsung to the supplier list despite the two companies’ ongoing legal disputes and status as rival manufacturers. The move is thought to ensure an adequate number of units for iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 will be available for launch.

We shall also see if the partnership patterns are consistent between the firms that are partners with Apple in the iPad production process, and thus support the fall release theory. These firms include Foxxconn, LG Display, and Samsung among others.

Apple and Samsung Alliance

Click image for larger view

Apple and Foxconn Alliance

Click image for larger view

Apple and LG Alliance

Click image for larger view

Apple’s Financial Emplacement in the Phone and Tablet Industry

Apple recently announced its third quarter results for 2013, beating the market estimates by a margin with record iPhone sales; however, it did disappoint with the performance of its iPad.

The revenues for Q3 were $35.3 billion and net profit of $6.9 billion with an EPS of $7.47 per diluted share. The gross margin, a key measure of profitability, narrowed to 36.9 percent from 42.8%, as analysts expected. Apple had forecasted gross margin between 36% and 37%.

The company sold a record 31.2 million iPhones, one of its star products, compared to 26 million during same quarter the previous year. Coming to iPads, it sold 14.6 million units, down from 17 million in the same period a year ago. Although Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the decline was due to lower levels of iPad inventory in the 2013 third quarter versus the 2012 third quarter, however, evidence suggests increasing competition among other factors such as absence of new products from the market, stagnation in “innovation” has plunged Apple’s market share in emerging markets.

In China, which is considered to be the largest market for Apple outside America, Samsung and other vendors such as Redmond, Microsoft Corp., Huawei Technologies, and ZTE Corp have taken on much of Apple’s lost market share making the industry increasingly fragmented with local/whitebox players.

These domestic vendors are also capitalizing on a lack of new products from Apple. A new iPad hasn’t been introduced since last year and they FINALLY released their new iPhone in September 2013. Unless Apple begins rolling out new products more consistently they’re going to suffer further in terms of lost market share, consumer turnover, and possible plunging shares prices.

Now the question arises as to how does Apple’s current business standing favor its announcement during October?

The answer is simple.

October is the beginning of the last quarter for 2013. In order to improve its overall financial progress during the year 2013 and in order to make up for some of the lost market shares and revenue, it is important Apple must refresh the inventories of its flagship products at a time where it would still be left with some time to see the progress being made.

And October appears to be a suitable month for that.

Apple Financial Earnings Q3 Timeline

Click image for larger view

Apple Financial Earnings Q3 Tree Map

Click image for larger view

iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 Release Date Clues

The iPad Mini 2 and iPad 5 are expected to follow the launch of the new iPhone 5S, which just released on September 20, 2013. Although the market for the tablet is undergoing saturation, iPad Mini outperformed iPad in terms of market share and number of sold units mostly because of its cheaper price.

There are three possibilities with the release of iPad Mini 2:

1. Apple will release the iPad Mini 2 along with its bigger sibling.

Many reports indicate the newly designed iPad 5 will mimic iPad Mini. It will resemble a larger iPad Mini by using the same screen technology, making it possible for the next iPad to be both thinner and lighter. So if Apple only concentrates on the aesthetics without adding more value (features and performance) then a joint launch doesn’t make much business sense.

2. Apple will release iPad Mini weeks after iPad 5 but before the end of 2013.

This scenario would provide Apple a good chance to boost sales for the iPad 5 in an increasingly saturated market. However, it is important to realize the (number one) factor FAR MORE important in determining the relative progress of each product: value added features. That trumps timing.

People could wait a couple of weeks in order to save a couple of hundred bucks on a product that is little different than its standard version. Hence, in all likelihood, iPad 5 is likely to offer many more features than iPad Mini. Also, an iPad Mini would certainly come with the Retina Display, particularly after Google recently released its latest Nexus 7 tablet with a high-resolution tablet.

3. Apple will release iPad Mini 2 in Q1 of 2014.

Newly emerging data, particularly a recent report by Bloomberg, makes this claim highly unlikely.

Since the main determinant that would put iPad 5 in a suitable market position is its “value added features,” it wouldn’t backfire even if Apple announces and jointly releases both items. However, given the production constraints, a difference of couple of weeks between the release dates of iPad 5 and iPad Mini cannot be completely ruled out.

Apple iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 Correlation

Click image for larger view

Conclusion: iPad 5 Release Date

In light of all the available data and all evidence favoring the release during the fall of 2013, it is reasonable to forecast iPad 5 announcement is likely to take place during the second or third week of October. It would be at least 10-12 days after the announcement the iPad 5 would be available for purchase, placing the official release date somewhere between October 22 and November 6, and iPad Mini 2 before the end of November.

To Readers: Please refer to this live content feed to stay updated on the latest news related to the iPad 5 release.

This report was organized August 26, 2013 and updated October 4, 2013 to reference the recent iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C release.