Apple is said to launch new iPad models in the first half of 2019, according to Taiwanese supply chain website DigiTimes. One of these models is expected to be called the iPad Mini 5, however, reports suggest that the tablet might have a similar design as the iPad mini 4.
Furthermore, reports also suggest that iPad Mini 5 will have identical dimensions as the iPad mini 4, including a thickness of 6.1mm. This also hints that the tablet might sport a 7.9-inch display. It will likely retain a lighting connector, TouchID, and 3.5mm headphone jack. One design change expected is the repositioning of the rear microphone to a top-center repositioning of the rear microphone to a top-center position in line with the sixth-generation iPad.
What is unclear at this moment is whether the iPad Mini 5 would be powered by the A10 Fusion chip seen on the iPhone 7 series and sixth-generation iPad or an A10X Fusion chip in line with 2017 iPad Pro models and the Apple TV 4K. It’s also unclear if the iPad mini 5 would support the original Apple Pencil, but second-generation Apple Pencil support seems to be ruled out.
In another note, among the supply chain partners for iPhones, Taiwan’s PCB makers have suffered significantly from the devices’ latest wave of lackluster sales, with flexible board suppliers Zhen Ding Tech, Flexium Interconnect and Career Technology bracing for more negative impacts in 2019 as their revenues have already seen notable downturns since November 2018.
Apple iPhone mainboard suppliers including Compeq Manufacturing, Unimicron, and Kinsus Interconnect Technology, as well as makers of PCBs for non-handset Apple devices such as Tripod Technology and Unitech PCB might be less affected in the year partly to lower ratio of revenues. At the moment, Compeq and Unitech are major suppliers of rigid-flex boards for AirPods and are expected to enjoy significant revenue increases post the AirPods 2 release in first-half of 2019. The new iPad models that are expected to launch in the first half of 2019 can be seen as a boon to shipment performances at Taiwan-based flexible PCB suppliers.