Reports See iPad Mini and iWatch in 2014, as Apple and Samsung Ink New Chip Deal

3 minute read
Chris Knight avatar


A whole bunch of snippets about Apple are popping out of the woodwork, suggesting that the company may only have the iPhone 5S and a budget model to show in 2013, with other devices drifting into next year. 

2014 Could Be A Very Good Year

if you are a patient Apple fan that is. If you suffer from "want-it-now-itis" then you could be feeling rather left out. To be fair, it was always likely that Apple's much-touted iWatch wouldn't be seen until next year, but a Financial Times report reckons that Apple is hiring specifically for the device with a view to a late-2014 time frame launch. 

With recent fashion industry hire Paul Deneve working on special projects, it seems Apple needs a wider experience base to produce something that's more designer jewellery than technology. That is creating a challenge greater than the ones even its genius engineers are used to.

Either way, the iWatch is clearly gaining momentum, and with Sony's SmartWatch not flying off the shelves it remains a market waiting to take off. With Apple bagging iWatch trademarks around the world, it is safe to assume this device can be moved out of the rumor category and into something for next year's Christmas list. 

Next iPad Mini Slipping? 

A little more alarming is a story that the iPad mini 2, that is supposed to be packing a retina-class display, might not ship until next year too. That would have been a massive seller over the holiday season, but with delays reported on Taiwanese sites, it could miss the boat, slipping to Q1 2014.

Alternatively, some of Apple's suppliers among the screen industry could be trying to angle for better margins by running these rumors. Or, there could be issues with demand for the screens and planned new technologies like the Sharp's Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) displays which offer lower power and reduced bezel requirements.

Learning Opportunities

The report suggests Apple would have two models of Mini, one similar to the current Mini and one with a retina display. We'd be surprised to see Apple miss that crucial launch window, so treat this one with some caution.

The next full-size iPad is supposed to have an IGZO screen. Reports of the technology's prowess are encouraging, but ultimately, it will take something special to outclass the already rather neat retina displays to impress.

Chipping Away at the Silicon

On a more positive  note for Apple, it has apparently signed a new deal with Samsung (who it has spent much time trying to distance itself from) to supply 14nm Ax chips for its future iPhones (probably the version 7 model) into 2015.

Either the deal is a sign that Apple's recent contract with TSMC was a leverage move, or Apple is just spreading its high-demand load across the industry. The Samsung news should be good for Apple which finds the iPhone 5 decidedly underpowered compared to this year's crop of superphones. 

All this as Apple prepares for its next set of quarterly figures at the end of the month, hopefully the company can clarify the reports before then. And these single reports, while great for feeding the Apple news train, often don't end up being a clear representation of a situation that changes daily.