A supply chain rumor has Apple ramping up production of what's been most often called the iPad Air 2. The new iPad is reported to have the same size display, an enhanced processor and Touch ID.
The Tuesday report from DigiTimes says:
Touch panel makers TPK and GIS are among some of the makers receiving orders from Apple for full-lamination units. Sources said the new model will remain unchanged in terms of size and resolution, but that it will be thinner, equipped with an enhanced processor, and contain improved fingerprint recognition features.
This is pretty much what we expected. The statement about fingerprint recognition implies that Touch ID will make its appearance. The term "enhanced" processor is interesting. It could be a translation issue or it could be a roundabout way of suggesting something better than an A7 but not an A8.
Making this new iPad thinner will be a handsome engineering feat, but as we know, lower power CPUs can mean thinner batteries, something that was notable with the original iPad Air.
The report didn't mention a product name, and that's not something we'd expect a component supplier to be privy to anyway. However, given that there are enduring runors of a 12.x-inch iPad that may be the "iPad Pro," the name "iPad Air 2" makes a lot of sense
Finally, if production is ramping up now, the natural question to ask is whether there will be enough on hand to make an announcement on September 9th. Apple could very well announce the iPad, but provide a shipping date in October. However, Apple also has a penchant for announcing that the new product will ship almost immediately. And so an announcement could be forthcoming, or it could wait until October.
It all depends on what kind of commotion Apple wants to generate on September 9th. It also depends om which other efforts are primed and ready to announce and which ones didn't make the cut, creating a need for a product that's in production to serve as a gap filler in the agenda.
Another issue that's been discussed is whether the complete suite of features in the "iPad Air 2" is sufficient to get customers to give up their current iPad and upgrade. Apple knows the breakdown of various iPads in the field, and so it's not too hard to estimate those who will upgrade. And then, there are always the first time buyers in foreign markets plus the early adopters who always want the latest and greatest.
We may know more in six days, but then again, maybe not.