Japanese blog Macotakara reports that Apple is pushing to have a new, redesigned 9.7″ iPad ready in time for a March release (yes, it’s been through Google Translate):
“Chinese CBSi ZOL is, the report of AppleInsider, but not touching only iPad mini next, according to informed sources, and seems to have a plan announced in March 2013 (5th generation) iPad otherwise tells. In order to counter the Nexus 7 and Surface, it seems there is a possibility that the product release cycle faster. I’m told the design was great as it iPad mini, its design, lighter and thinner. (Perhaps, I considered smaller 2mm 4mm height, 17mm width, thickness).”
There have been previous rumors about an iPad launch coming sooner in 2013 than many expected. There have also been whispers that Apple is pushing to update the design of the current iPad to more closely reflect the design held by the iPad mini. Design goals include a thinner, lighter design, as well as the use of various new materials and manufacturing techniques.
The large iPad was just updated roughly two months ago, when the iPad mini was launched. It was updated to include a faster SoC (the A6X), as well as faster charging and a lightning port. Obviously, both are relatively small changes, though that update was in and of itself early, coming less than a year after the release of the iPad 3.
There are also rumors that Apple is moving their products to a quicker update cycle to compete with Microsoft and Android. Apple has historically been on a yearly update cycle of its flagship products, though the past few months have seen this behavior change.
Macotakara‘s track record isn’t perfect, but it is far better than other publications. At this point, it seems at least possible that Apple does indeed have something planned for March in regards to the 9.7″ iPad. Is it a complete iPad upgrade? Or, perhaps, is it instead another model with special, high-end features (i.e., an iPad Pro)?