Apple is purportedly gearing up to launch the fifth generation of the iPad soon and throw the gauntlet once again to rivals like Samsung and Microsoft.
Here's a look at when the iPad 5 may release, what features it's likely to pack in and the all-important price.
Release date: April or October?
Several rumors surrounding the release date of the iPad 5, which ranged from a March debut to an October unveiling, have appeared since last year.
In November 2012, reports suggested that the iPad 5 would release in mid-2013, which was followed by an "inside source" disclosing to Japanese site Macotakara that the tablet would see the light of day as early as March 2013.
The March debut was confirmed by Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, who cited industry insiders. White also opined that Apple was moving to a bi-annual schedule for the iPad refresh. With March gone, speculations now focus on an autumn launch
In January, Jeremy Horwitz ,iLounge's editor-in-chief, disclosed that he had seen the iPad 5 and it would not go on sale before October. Horwitz also let on that the iPad mini 2 would launch at the same time.
Alternately, analyst Eric Chiou's findings for the firm TrendForce suggest that the iPad 5 will get a complete overhaul and launch in September.
However, latest reports point to an April launch for the iPad 5.
Verdict: Apple could well be opting for a bi-yearly launch for the iPad. In 2012, Apple released the iPad 3 in March, followed by the iPad 4 in September 2012. The company could be looking at a similar pattern for 2013 and, therefore, the April and October dates would make sense. We could well see two iPads instead of one!
Moreover, retailers like Walmart and BestBuy have started offering 30 percent discounts on the iPad 4, hinting that the next-gen version may be around the corner.
Specs: What's under the Hood?
The iPad 4 saw some minor improvements when compared to the iPad 3.
Rumor has it that the iPad 5 will feature Sharp's IGZO display and not the Retina Display. It will also adopt design sensibilities from its smaller sibling the iPad mini and will have an aluminum back and almost no bezels. The whole form factor of the iPad 5 will apparently be sleeker and slimmed down.
Rumors also suggest that the iPad 5 will tout the A7 processor, which will outperform new A6X processor system-on-a-chip.
Features: What's going to be new?
Speculations also hint at the iPad 5 featuring a vibrating mode for message alerts and haptic feedback. Apple apparently has applied for a patent for "an audio codec with vibrator support," fueling the rumor.
Yet another Apple patent reveals that the company could be looking to add induction coils in its iPad Smart Covers, which would aid wireless charging. Users would be able to charge the iPad by simply closing the cover.
The patent is called "Integrated inductive charging in protective cover" and speaks of "an inductive power transmitter arranged to wirelessly pass power to a corresponding inductive power receiver unit disposed within the tablet device."
Price: Cheaper or Same?
Apple usually follows a similar pricing pattern for its next-gen iDevices. The old models usually get a slight drop and the new model retails at the original price of the older model. This pattern suggests that the iPad 5 would cost anywhere between $499 to $799 (depending on if it's the 16/32/64/128GB) and the iPad 4 would then get a price drop.
According to TrendForce, the new iPad display could result in cost reductions which could enable Apple to drop the iPad 5's prices.