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Analyst: New iPad will also bring new Smart Cover design

updated 12:19 am EDT, Tue October 15, 2013

Claims previous covers, Smart Covers won't fit new full-size tablet

Citing sources from among Apple's Chinese and Taiwanese suppliers, analyst Brian J. White of Cantor Fitzgerald says that if the rumors and parts leaks for the next full-size iPad are accurate -- a thinner design that mimics the iPad mini in style -- then the company will additionally introduce new iPad Smart Covers for the forthcoming product. While the conclusion may seem a bit obvious to fans of the tablets, White's investor clients don't often factor in ancillary sales such as covers into their AAPL profit forecasts.

The new design, White believes, will spark a large-scale upgrade cycle from buyers of the first-, second- and third-generation iPads -- and a new design of smart cover should also do very well for the company. "Given this change in size, we believe this will provide Apple with an excuse to unveil a new Smart Cover and drive an upgrade cycle for this line of cases (also an upgrade cycle for non-Apple branded iPad cases), which we believe is an attractive margin product for Apple," White wrote. "Essentially, if you own a case for prior versions of the iPad, you will need to buy a new case for the iPad 5."

The new design (seen in alleged leaked parts, below) is likely to be dramatically thinner and lighter than the current 9.7-inch iPad, and widely expected to resemble an enlarged iPad mini, which launched last October to enormous popular and critical acclaim. It is thought that the full-size iPad may also sport a Touch ID fingerprint sensor as seen on the latest iPhone. White said that vendors at trade shows in the Far East are already selling iPad cases and covers that match the speculated new dimensions of the tablet.

The new Smart Cover design could be available in the same colors as White's prediction for the iPad 5 itself -- matching the three shades of the iPhone 5s lineup (silver, gold and "space gray"). "Given that Apple did little in the way of changing the look and feel of the past couple of iPad iterations," he said, "we believe Apple's sizable installed base is ready to purchase a new full-sized iPad." It is presently unknown if the company will also switch materials away from the mostly-polyurethane current cover design.

White's prediction that full-size iPad fans are ready for a redesigned model may be borne out by trade-in reports from reseller Gazelle, reports AppleInsider. The firm reports that iPad trade-in activity spiked nearly 300 percent year-over-year (and 86 percent from the previous week) after it was reported that Apple plans to announce the next iPad line at an event on October 22.

by MacNN Staff



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