Next-gen iPad Air and Retina iPad mini to feature A8 processor, Touch ID

four iPad mini retina display

Rounding out our coverage of Ming-Chi Kuo’s lengthy report on 2014 Apple products last night, we have the iPad. We’ve already discussed the analyst’s predictions for the iWatch and iPhone, and now it’s time to take a look at his prophecies for Apple’s next-gen tablets.

According to Kuo, the Cupertino company is planning on launching a second generation iPad Air this year alongside a new Retina iPad mini. He says that both slates will feature new A8 processors, and will finally receive Home buttons outfitted with Touch ID technology…

MacRumors passes along the research note:

“We think the upgraded iPad Air will be launched earlier in 2014 than the iPad Air was in 2013. The biggest changes will be A8 processor, Touch ID (fingerprint recognition), and main camera resolution of 8MP.

…We previously thought Apple would not release a new version of the iPad mini this year, but we now think Apple will launch an upgraded version with same form factor, A8 processor and Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) to boost shipments of iPad mini with Retina display.”

Kuo says that Apple deciding to launch a new Retina iPad mini this year likely has to do with lower-than-expected sales of the current-gen model. He thinks the poor performance is due to the tablet’s heavier, thicker build—the same mistake Apple made with the late iPad 3.

As for the oft-rumored 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro,’ the analyst is sticking with his original prediction that we won’t see it this year. He says Apple is still actively working on the device, which will be focused towards entertainment and productivity uses, but it’ll likely debut in 2015.

Apple is expected to launch the new iPad Air and mini this fall, alongside new iPhones and various other products. Once they’ve launched, Kuo says that the company will probably keep one of the two current generation tablets around, if not both, to sell at a discounted price.