I’m not sure this is actually newsworthy, but here it is anyway: Apple will overhaul its full product line over the course of 2012, including the iPad, iMac, iPhone and MacBook Air. That, according to a “source in the upstream supply chain” confabbing with DigiTimes. I know, it’s basically like shouting “Revelation! Computer manufacturer will do what it usually does!” and expecting people’s heads to spin.
But alright: Look for Apple’s next iPad sometime in early 2012 (as long rumored), perhaps in March 2012, though it may simply be an update to the iPad 2 (as the iPhone 4S was to the iPhone 4), e.g. thinner with better battery life. A true third-gen iPad may not launch until 2012’s second half. As for next-gen iPhone and iMac models, DigiTimes’ source says to expect those in the second half of 2012.
As noted, an iPad update in early 2012’s been rumored for months, while a new iPhone in 2012’s second half is kind of a no-brainer—the iPhone 4S just debuted a few weeks ago, after all. The iMac hasn’t been design-updated since the shift to a unibody aluminum frame in October 2009, but it undergoes routine parts refreshes, including processors, video cards and support for new connectivity features like Thunderbolt. It’s unclear what overhauling the iMac family would entail. In any case, most of this scuttlebutt falls into could’ve-guessed-that-anyway space based on conventional product cycles.
The one semi-intriguing takeaway: Apple’s supposed to be finalizing order quantities for the next iPad’s insides in December, which appears to jibe with what a Susquehanna Financial analyst was saying middle of last month—that Apple was ramping up fourth quarter iPad production with plans to produce as many as one million next-gen iPads yet this year.
Make that two million, according to DigiTimes’ source, which says parts inventory for Apple’s next-gen iPad should be enough to produce that number of units by 2011’s close.
It sounds like Apple’s looking at two iPad prototypes, codenamed J1 and J2, each with unique flat panel screens and LED backlighting. A source speaking to CNET last week claimed Apple was running into difficulties manufacturing higher resolution panels of up to 2,048 by 1,536 pixel displays—a resolution theoretically high enough to qualify for Apple’s “Retina Display” classification, which the company defines as “pixel density…so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels.” Failing that, the company could settle for a 1600 by 1200 pixel version.