iPad mini (three-up, front, back, profile, white)

This is kind of interesting. According to a new report, Apple is preparing its fifth-generation iPad for an early-2013 launch, despite the fact that it just released the fourth iteration of the tablet back in October.

Citing insider sources, the report claims that Apple will be unveiling the next-gen iPad in March. And the slate will be both lighter and thinner than its predecessor, and feature a new, iPad mini-like design…

Macotakara (without much help from Google Translate) reports:

“Chinese CBSi ZOL is, the report of AppleInsider, but not touching only iPad mini next, according to informed sources, and seems to have a plan announced in March 2013 (5th generation) iPad otherwise tells. In order to counter the Nexus 7 and Surface, it seems there is a possibility that the product release cycle faster. I’m told the design was great as it iPad mini, its design, lighter and thinner. (Perhaps, I considered smaller 2mm 4mm height, 17mm width, thickness).”

Macotakara has a pretty accurate track record when it comes to Apple intel, and other than the fourth-gen iPad, Apple’s new tablets have typically launched in the Spring. So a March unveiling doesn’t sound too crazy.

In addition to the fifth-gen iPad chatter, Macotakara also says that Apple is already working on the second-gen iPad mini. It’s also expected to land in March with a 2048 × 1536 Retina display and an A6X processor.

Tonight’s report matches up with two scoops seen earlier this month. CNET reported that Apple was moving up next-gen mini production to early 2013. And DigiTimes claimed that Apple was upping its display resolution.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2013 is going to be a really interesting year for the Cupertino company. After it refreshed nearly all of its product lines this fall, all bets are off on what it’s going to do next, or when.