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Rumor: Apple to begin production of 5th-gen iPad in July-August

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Contrary to claims that a new full-size iPad will be introduced this month, a new report claims that Apple will instead begin production of its fifth-generation tablet later this summer.

The claim was published on Tuesday by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese tech industry news site with a questionable track record with respect to Apple rumors. The report cited the site's usual sources at Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

In line with previous rumors, Tuesday's report claimed the new iPad will be lighter and thinner than the fourth-generation model with a slim bezel design similar to that of the iPad mini. The display for the new iPad will reportedly be produced by LG Display and Sharp, while touch panels will come from TPK.

The new iPad had been pegged for an "April-ish" release by Rene Ritchie of iMore. Again last week, he indicated he has heard from "several sources" that an April iPad event was planned by Apple, "if it's ready."

Speculation on Apple's next iPad has been varied, with other, earlier reports claiming the device could launch as late as October of this year. Apple surprised last year with two iPad launches, introducing the third-generation model with Retina display last March, only to unveil a fourth-generation model with a faster A6X CPU, Lightning connector and FaceTime HD camera in October.

This year, the company surprised again by launching a new, higher-capacity 128-gigabyte model in early February. It costs $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model, while a variant with cellular connectivity runs $929.

Following the launch of the iPad mini late last year, Apple's smaller 7.9-inch model has reportedly been cannibalizing sales of the larger 9.7-inch model. Some reports have indicated that the iPad mini is already outselling the full-size iPad.