Apple iPad Air 3 release date nears: New tablet to launch in 2016 without 3D Touch
Apple iPad Air 3 release date nears: New tablet to launch in 2016 without 3D TouchApple INC

The Apple's iPad Pro was launched alongside iPad Mini 4 in September, giving fans a taste of "bigger is better" strategy it first started with the launch of iPhone 6 series. The iPad Pro is the largest tablet by Apple to date and also one of the most-anticipated gadgets of 2015.

With all the talk about Pro and Mini iPads, Apple missed a crucial upgrade to its iPad Air lineup this year. However, Apple has some big plans stored for its fans in 2016.

In a research note by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is said to finally launch the long rumoured iPad Air 3 in the first half of 2016. There is no specific launch date for the iPad Air 2 successor but it could be launched alongside the rumoured 4-inch iPhone 6C and Apple Watch 2 in March 2016, 9to5Mac reports.

Details about the iPad Air 3 are scarce but Kuo forecasts the new tablet will come without 3D Touch, a feature that gauges different pressure levels to offer corresponding options seen in iPhone 6s series. The shortage in supply of 3D Touch components is the likely cause for the missing feature in iPad Air 3.

"While we think the 3D Touch supply chain produced more to avoid shortages in the early stages, slower end-product demand and improved back-end assembly yield have resulted in the current high inventory. As 1Q16 demand looks to slow on seasonality and competition from other brands' new models, we believe 3D Touch supply chain capacity utilization is currently lower than peak level of 30%, and that will last through 1Q16," Kuo writes, according to 9to5Mac.

Rumours about Apple iPad 3 have been circulating for a long time now. The tablet was originally expected to be launched in October this year but it clearly missed the date. Apple iPad Air 3 is expected to witness a makeover in terms of performance and design. The tablet might get thinner and feature an improved processor to succeed iPad Air 2.

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