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iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Release Date, Rumors, Specs: What We Know So Far

( [email protected] ) May 23, 2014 02:14 PM EDT

The past weeks have seen much hype surrounding the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 - two new devices speculated to have their launch date sometime this fall.

Though Apple has not officially confirmed the existence of these devices, the only thing certain is that the Cupertino-based tech giant is working on the replace for the current iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 that are actually on the market. Still, we will not know for certain exactly what name Apple will use when these two new device start hitting the shelves this fall.

101: Crash Course in Apple Tablet Lineup

The names iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are simply naming conventions used within the rumor mill to describe the two next-gen devices that Apple is developing. Adding to confusion, Apple does not bother assigning numbers to any of its devices. It is in fact the Apple fan community and the media that assigns numbers for reasons of convenience.

Take for instance, the original iPad Mini is often referred to by fans as the "iPad Mini 1". When Apple released an updated iPad Mini with Retina display, users started calling it the "iPad Mini 2". At no point in time did Apple officially use the name "iPad Mini 2," and it is unlikely that the name "iPad Mini 3" will be used officially.

As of now, Apple still calls its first-generation tablet device the "iPad". In 2011, Apple made unusual decision to label their next tablet the "iPad 2". The following year, Apple went back to its usual naming convention by calling their 2012 tablet the "New iPad", which fans quickly dubbed the "iPad 3". Later, the iPad with Retina display was launched, and it was unofficially called the "iPad 4." In September 2013, Apple released their fifth-generation tablet the iPad Air, which fans call the "iPad Air 1."

Fast forward to 2014, Apple is working on two next-gen tablets that the rumor mill is referring as the "iPad Air 2" and the "iPad Mini 3".

Rumored Specs and Possible Launch Date

The latest speculation suggest that fingerprint sensors will be embedded in the home button for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablet, as well as the iPhone 6 smartphone. There is some validity to this rumor because the Touch ID fingerprint sensor was one of the more successful selling points featured in the current iPhone 5 smartphone. It is likely that such technology will become the standard for most if not all of Apple's next-gen mobile device.

Although the iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 may be getting faster processors, this has not always been the rule for every device made by Apple. For example, the iPad Mini 2 came with high-definition Retina Display, but apart from that it was relatively the same in performance to the original iPad Mini. There is the chance the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the upcoming tablets is only a gimmick, and that the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will only have superficial performance upgrade. So far, there has not been much information even in the rumor mill to suggest that both tablets are getting significant performance upgrades.

Even so, fans can still hold out hope in knowing that Apple has been finalizing development of the iOS 8, the next next-generation OS likely to appear on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Logically, both tablets will need beefier hardware in order to run the new software, which in theory may translate into significant improved performance. Keep in mind though, there is still so little information to reach such conclusions. In other words, confirmation will depend entirely on what Apple decides to announce.

In regards to launch date, it has been speculated that Apple will be introducing the new tablets at the WWDC 2014, beginning June 2. Skeptics have disputed this claim by claiming that Apple will instead be focusing on the iOS 8 software, which has been receiving just as much attention as the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Still, many folks in the rumor mill believe that the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will hit shelves sometime in September. This belief mirrors Apple's previous major launch dates that tended to happen in the fall season.