Next-gen iPads already rumored, thinner profile and retina display for iPad Mini top feature list

Thousands of people around the world will be exploring their new iPads and iPad Minis this week, getting heavy use out of Apple’s devices that were just released last month. But details are already emerging about Apple’s next refresh to the iPad and Mini product lines, with March rumored as the target date for launch of the latest devices.

9to5Mac.com reported this week, based off of reports from an often-reliable Japanese-language blog, Macotakara, that March was being set as the date for the fifth-generation of iPad releases.

The headline of the rumor mill this time around is that the new iPad reportedly will pick up many of the design elements of the iPad Mini, which itself inherited many of the design characteristics of the iPhone 5. According to the rumors, we can expect the next generation iPad to be thinner, lighter, and to feature the black/slate or white/silver color schemes of the Mini and iPhone.

The report from Macotakara speculates that the next-gen iPad will be a few millimeters smaller on both the height, width, and depth scales. There was no speculation in the report about changes or updates to the technology inside the next-gen iPad models.

That wasn’t the case, however, with the next generation of the iPad Mini, which also is speculated to be released in March. The new iPad Mini reportedly will come with a Retina display, featuring the same 2048 x 1536 resolution that full-size iPads carry.

Count me as one who is pretty intrigued by the idea of a Retina display with the iPad Mini form factor. I’ve only played with iPad Minis owned by friends in a limited amount, so far, but the one thing that seems to be missing is the high-res display that really makes images and text pop on the newer full-size iPads. If the new models are released with the upgraded display as well as a modicum of improvement of the device’s innards, picking up a second-gen Mini in March may be a slam-dunk decision.

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