When Apple released a 4th-generation iPad just eight months after its predecessor, we wondered whether we'd still see a new iPad in March (its typical release slot). A new report claims that we will, with a redesigned 5th-generation iPad waiting in the wings.

According to Japanese blog Macotakara (which has a solid record with supply chain leaks), the iPad 5's design will borrow from the iPad mini. Their sources expect the tablet to be 4 mm shorter, 2 mm thinner, and 17 mm narrower. The huge decrease in width suggests thinner side bezels, like the iPad mini.

The report says that Apple is accelerating its release cycle as a response to the Nexus 7 and Surface. That's almost certainly speculation on their part, as Apple wouldn't likely brief suppliers on its motives. But competition is heating up in the tablet market. A new iPad would serve as ammunition against rival devices, as well as minimizing the iPad mini's cannibalization of its big brother.

Retina iPad mini?

The report also mentions a 2nd-generation iPad mini with Retina Display. This isn't the first time we've heard this, but this report says that it will have a 7.9-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 display with an A6X chip.

The source doesn't have a time frame for the alleged Retina iPad mini, but it says that it will enter trial production later this month.

Truth or fiction?

We'd recommend taking this – and all Apple rumors – with healthy grains of salt. But the details are logical. Many believe that Apple is moving to a six-month iPad release cycle. Additionally, the 4th-gen. iPad is bulky and heavy next to the iPad mini; a thinner, lighter design would help to put it (and its higher profit margins) back in the spotlight.

Either way, Apple's secrecy isn't what it used to be. A series of leaks left little surprises when Apple revealed the iPad 3, iPhone 5, and iPad mini. Is this one of those surprise killers, or just a bunch of hot air? Stay tuned.

Source: Macotakara, via Macrumors