Rumor: the iPad 4 coming in mid-2013 with simpler manufacturing design

Next Tuesday will hopefully bring us a small form-factor iPad (affectionately called by the press the iPad mini), perhaps some refreshed Macs and possibly a tweaked iPad 3 with support for UK’s upcoming 4G LTE network in the 1,800MHz band from carrier Everything Everywhere (currently, the iPad 3 uses the 700 and 2100MHz band). It’s all part of Apple’s aggressive roll out planned for 2012, but that doesn’t mean the rumor-mill is standing still.

Quite the contrary, a new rumor out of Asia is claiming the company’s already warned its supply chain to prepare for a fourth-generation iPad in mid-2013. Perhaps learning from the ongoing manufacturing woes plaguing the iPhone 5 and reportedly affecting the iPad mini launch volume, Apple is thought to be switching to “a simpler manufacturing design”

This comes from the pretty unreliable (as of late) DigiTimes, an Asian trade publication which, however, is well connected and often accurate when it comes to supply chain news.

The sources said the next generation iPad will remain its same 9.7-inch size but will simplify its components to give the device a simpler manufacturing design, such as the amount of LED lights that are used.

The sources said the New iPad uses one-chip packages for its LED baklight units (BLUs), but the next-generation model will adopt two-chip packages, the sources added.

The number of LED chips used in the iPad 4 backlighting system is thought to be reduced from 84 used in the iPad 3.

As you know, the iPad 3 has twice as LEDs as its predecessor, needed to push the light between the Retina display’s denser pixels. These LEDs consumer more power so engineers gave the iPad 3 a massive battery with 70 percent greater capacity. Faster power drain from the backlighting system coupled with four times the pixels and the more powerful A5X chip with quad-core graphics all vastly contributed to Heatgate.

Tweaking the LED backlighting system would help the iPad 3 consume less energy while also reducing the perceived overheating. We first heard Apple was interested in tweaking the iPad’s design to fix the overheating issue back in July.

The iPad 3’s batter is rated 42 watt-hours versus 25-watt-hours for the iPad 2.

The article stops short of providing other details about the device, even if it’s fairly safe to assume that the iPad 4 would no doubt feature a Lightning connector and an improved version of the A6 processor that first appeared inside the iPhone 5.

The report goes on to note that Apple is also “making adjustments” to iPads, noting the revised version may not be introduced until the first quarter of 2013.

The revised version could be simply the aforementioned revised iPad 3 with an updated backlighting and support for more 4G LTE bands, specifically the 1,800MHz band UK carrier Everything Everywhere is using for its upcoming 4G LTE network, which is scheduled to launch on November 30.

If true, Apple could also use this opportunity to give the revised iPad 3 a Lightning connector.

So guys, what do you make of all this?