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Apple's next-gen 9.7" iPad expected to be 25% lighter, 15% thinner, debut in Q3

Purported next-gen iPad cases. | Source: Tactus

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects Apple's fifth-generation iPad to be substantially smaller than the current model, while still managing to carry a GF2 touch panel, A7X processor and other improvements over its predecessor.

In a note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo notes that the next-gen iPad's thinness and lightness will be its key attributes, which should be significant enough to move more units as compared to the current model. The analyst believes Apple's third and fourth generation iPads didn't sell as well as anticipated because they were both heavier and thicker than the iPad 2.

"We think the tablet will, at 7.5-8.0mm, be 15% thinner than iPad 4," Kuo writes.

The slimness will come from new GF2 screen technology, a change from the current iPad's GG touch tech, which will also help in reducing power consumption. Kuo sees the "iPad 5" as requiring less juice, and expects a 25 to 30 percent decrease in battery size. Compared to the existing version, the cells will be reduced from three to two and will see a 15 to 20 percent reduction in thickness.

A much-rumored design change is also seen as likely, with the new full-size iPad taking on an aesthetic borrowed from the iPad mini. Thinner bezels and a more curved casing will bring parity to Apple's tablet lineup. The prediction is in line with rumors speculating as much, most recently culminating in two supposed leaks, one allegedly showing the iPad's front cover glass and another of purported cases built for the as-yet-unannounced device.

As far as internal components, the next iPad is expected to come with a new A7-series SoC manufactured on Samsung's 28 nanometer process, improving efficiency while increasing processing power.

There shouldn't be a change in camera specs, meaning the fourth-generation unit's 5-megapixel shooter will be carried over, as well as the front-facing FaceTime HD package.

Overall, the fifth-generation iPad, with the GF2 tech and consequent downgrading of battery size, will yield a thinner and lighter tablet. Weight is thought to be around 500 grams, compared to the current 650-gram iPad.

Kuo expects production to start ramping up in July and August ahead of a shipments in August or September.

Also noted in the report was an estimate on upcoming iPad lineup shipments. The analyst maintains an iPad mini 2 is set for release in the second half of 2013 and will account for 60 to 65 percent of all iPad shipments. Focusing on the 9.7-inch tablet, Kuo expects shipments of 15 million units by year's end.