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Apple may be preparing a new version of the iPad mini, a report from a Chinese newspaper claims, with a fifth-generation version of the pint-sized tablet allegedly on the way, coupled with other changes to the iPad lineup in 2019.
The iPad mini has not received an update since the announcement of the fourth-generation version in September 2015, with the lack of changes to the product in over three years suggesting the device line is probably on its way out, and faces removal from the iPad roster completely. While there has been little movement for the smaller iPad model in recent years, that may change in a few months.
China Business Times sources claim Apple will be launching two low-priced models of the iPad in 2019. It is alleged Apple is doing so because it saw "outstanding results" for the 2017 9.7-inch iPad followed by a sales decline, allegedly due to it not releasing a "new low-priced iPad" in 2018, though the launch of the 2018 iPad in March suggests this means the fiscal 2018 rather than calendar year.
A new low-priced model of the 7.9-inch iPad mini is slated to arrive in the first half of 2019, with the supply chain starting production for the model in late December. It is unknown if there will be any major changes to the device's design, as observed for the iPad Pro.
A 2019 iPad is also planned, but according to the report, it will be undergoing a refresh that seems similar in many respects to the iPad Pro alterations. While still a low-priced option, the iPad will apparently have a larger screen that's more than 10 inches in size, while also having a narrower frame.
The new iPad is said to be mass-produced sometime in 2019, for release in the second half of the year.
Along with introducing rumors, the publication also claims Apple is switching some of its sources for iPad display panels from Japanese producers to BOE, based in South Korea. It is claimed this is part of a cost-cutting measure for Apple.
While the China Business Times has a good track record with supply chain information, like the iPad display panel topic, it has a poor track record in predicting Apple's future product plans.