Rumor: Next-Gen iPad, thinner and lighter, will come in March

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Although it’s only been a month or so since Apple released the iPad Mini, rumors are already circulating that the depressed sales compared to the company’s projections mean that they may be releasing their next-gen iPad sooner than expected.

Macotakara says that a thinner, lighter version of the iPad with a 9.7-inch display will be coming in March 2013 as the fifth generation of the tablet.  Basically, it will be a slightly smaller, much lighter iPad Mini.

This would bring Apple’s release cycle back to a March/April annual run.  As MacRumors points out, this would be the second iPad in half a year’s time, but DigiTimes has circulated a similar rumor about a March release as well.

It should be noted that Macotakara has been spot on with predictions in the past, having predicted (thanks to insider info) the design of the iPod Nano and the iPod Touch.

Would Apple do this?  Certainly.  They are working hard to keep dominance in the tablet arena and with heavy competition coming from several fronts, including Android and Microsoft, it would actually be a good idea for Apple to continue to press forward and not only be seen as a leader, but stay on step ahead (at least).  iPhone domination happened in this way.

Also of interest, the Macotakara prediction also says that the next-gen Mini will have a Retina display.  Not a tough prediction to make, but worth noting as it demonstrates that Apple is working to downsize the hi-res abilities it’s been fomenting.