Report: iPad Air 2 on tap for 2014, complete with A8 and Touch ID

If you had to guess how Apple(s aapl) will build a new iPad model based on the current iPad Air, surely a new processor would be part of your thoughts. That’s what Apple intends to do, says one analyst with a relatively good track record on figuring out Apple’s next product moves. The iPad Air 2 will use a new A8 chip and include the Touch ID fingerprint reader, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
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Apple Insider took a peek at Kuo’s most recent research note for Apple, which includes several educated guesses. Kuo expects a late third-quarter launch for the iPad Air 2 and thinks that TSMC will build the new A8 chip for Apple, which would take business away from Samsung.
TSMC is reportedly already building the yet-unannounced A8 chips for Apple, which makes sense from a timing perspective: Apple will likely need millions of the chips for multiple products in the next few months, including the next iPhone and iPad mini with retina display. In fact, Kuo suspects that a new iPad mini will see the same upgrades as the iPad Air 2, including touch ID support.
As far as that rumored 12.9-inch iPad, Kuo thinks Apple is working on it but doesn’t expect to see a product launch until next year. The larger screen may require some tweaking to optimize the iOS interface for a bigger tablet and productivity boost. That’s interesting given the timing of personnel changes in Apple’s iOS development group: Apple’s human interface VP has left the company and Jony Ive is taking over all design aspects.