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iPad 4 could be replaced by thinner iPad 5 early next year

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Apple could be looking to replace the new iPad 4 with an even thinner model called the iPad Air early next year, according to one analyst.

While the arrival of a new iPad 4 revision was a surprise to many, coming as it did a mere six months after the iPad 3, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes that Apple will repeat the trick in 2013. He believes that despite a rosy future for the iPad mini 2, increased rivalry from Microsoft will put pressure on Apple to innovate with the full-sized iPad range.

"Though the iPad mini is expected to be successful, we think launching the lighter, thinner 9.7-inch iPad as quickly as possible matters more for Apple strategically," Kuo explained to investors.

Kuo feels that the new Microsoft Surface could prompt Apple to react. The Microsoft Surface could prove appealing to consumers and businesses alike with its ability to run a variant of Windows 8 and transform into a mini-laptop through a clever keyboard-cover.

As reported by AppleInsider, Kuo expects Apple to respond by applying some of the technical innovations found in the iPad mini to a new iPad. This would primarily involve carrying over the GF DITO screen technology in order to help "dramatically lower the weight and thickness of the 9.7."

The iPad mini is an impressive 23 per cent thinner and 53 per cent lighter than the new iPad, which is a huge discrepancy considering the display is less than two inches smaller.

Meanwhile the newly revised iPad 4 that was launched on Tuesday is almost identical to the short-lived iPad 3 externally, but with a much faster and more power-efficient Apple A6X processor and the new Lightning connector replacing the old 30-pin port. Both features have been lifted from the iPhone 5.

It seems the next iPad could be lifting its key features from the iPad mini instead - and it could be coming sooner than you think.

What do you think of Apple's swift jettisoning of the iPad 3? Would you be happy if the company pulled the same trick early next year if it resulted in a significantly slimmer iPad? Let us know on the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds, or through the comments boxes below.

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