New Apple iPad Air 2/Plus, iPad mini 3 release date on tap for 2014

Even with the year three-quarters finished, Apple has only launched half of its new 2014 mobile product line. Now comes the countdown to the full size iPad Air 2, the comparatively diminutive iPad mini 3, and quite possibly an oversized iPad Plus. With the new iOS 8 system software out the door, we already know what some of the software-based features of the new iPad tablets will be, from health and exercise integration to in-car integration and home automation. But the larger question is this: with the year winding down, just when will the release date for these new Apple products arrive?

Part of that depends on manufacturing and components as per usual. Apple just launched two new iPhone models, but only one of them was initially available in full quantity as the other worked its way through a longer manufacturing process. That could well happen again, with Apple debuting both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini simultaneously but each having its own subsequent shipping date. In addition to its current 9.7 and 7.9 inch models, longtime buzz has the iPad also expanding to a twelve to thirteen inch size. While there’s never been a demonstrated mainstream market for such a product, Apple’s sudden willingness to expand the iPhone into super-sized status does give credibility to the notion that an iPad Plus is indeed on the way.

As for the existing iPad models, the iPad Air 2 will likely look stylistically similar to the existing iPad Air with the only major changes on the inside, as Apple just revamped the design last year and tends to do so in alternating years. That means the iPad mini 3 could be a major overhaul in terms of styling and looks, after the first two iPad mini generations looked essentially the same. Apple’s history points to the iPad unveiling event taking place in mid October, with the in-store release dates coming days or weeks later, with all new iPad models shipping prior to Thanksgiving.