The iPad Air 2, the obvious follow up to the iPad Air, is set to be an iterative update to the current best tablet on the market right now.
While its name is likely to be in the iPad Air 2 region, this will actually be Apple's sixth generation full size (9.7-inch) tablet - and the Cupertino based firm will be looking to continue its domination at the top end of the market.
Many rival manufacturers have attempted to ape the iPad's success, but numerous Android and Windows devices have tried and failed to match the premium build quality, consumer lust and ultimately the sales figures that Apple has enjoyed.
Apple is going to have a tough job topping the iPad Air, after it gained a coveted 5 star TechRadar review and it currently sits proudly at number 1 in our "Best Tablets in the World" top 10.
There's very little on the new iPad to tell you about right now, but that doesn't mean we can't take an educated guess at when the new model is coming and with the help of the rumours which are starting to circulate we can also explore what it may offer.
The launch of iOS 7.1 contained some mentions of two newer models of iPads, according to 9to5Mac, noting iPad 4.3 and 4.6 models, which could reference the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 3.
Cut to the chase
What is it? The sequel to the iPad Air
When is it out? The current best guess is an October 21 announcement and a November launch
What will it cost? The iPad Air 2 will likely start at £479 / $500 / AU$600
iPad Air 2 release date
The iPad Air 2 may well be announced on October 21 if rumors are to be believed. Though other reports cast doubt on that. Either way we reckon sometime in October is likely.
As for the actual release date that's likely to be early to mid November. Why November? Well that's when the iPad Air made an appearance last year, and Apple does like to stick to its annual produce cycle - if you overlook the whole iPad 4 thing. It should be on track for November too, as according to Bloomberg's sources the iPad Air 2 has already gone into production.
As well as predicting an A8 processor, Kuo also believes that the iPad Air 2 will sport an 8MP rear camera, up from 5MP on the iPad Air.
Kuo's theories are looking increasingly likely, as according to sources speaking to ETNews the iPad Air 2's main camera will be boosted from 5 to 8MP, while the front-facing snapper will be increased to 1.5MP.
We've not heard much else about the camera yet, but a leaked iPad Air 2 case has a mysterious hole, which is positioned near the camera hole. What this could be for is anyone's guess, perhaps a laser autofocus or an LED flash?
Obviously an analyst is just that, so these theories are unlikely to be based on hard evidence, but Kuo has a better track record than some, as among other things he correctly predicted the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S.
Sources speaking to ETNews claim that the design is going to be similar to that of the original iPad Air and its screen will stick at a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That's been echoed in more recent rumors, though these go on to say that the slate itself might be even thinner than last year's model.
However while the resolution might not change, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg that screen might have an "anti reflection coating" which would make it easier to read.
We've also caught a glimpse of what might be the new iPad Air's front panel and it appears that the display is integrated into the panel, which would allow it to be slimmer than the iPad Air, which has a separate display and panel.
A more comprehensive leak claiming to show off a prototype iPad Air 2 in pretty much all its glory has also hit the web, revealing subtle design changes rather than a total overhaul.
Something worth noting in this series of images is the fact the Touch ID button from the iPhone 5S appears to be on the iPad Air 2, backing up Kuo's claim that the biometric tech will land on the slate.
Touch ID seems to be the feature of choice surrounding most of the next-gen iPad rumors, as another image claiming to show the iPhone 6, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 highlights the fingerprint scanner on all three devices.
While another recent leak mentions that Touch ID will be included in the new iPad Air and that it's going to be more durable than the current incarnation.
It appears the iPad Air 2 just can't stay away from cameras, as a series of shots appeared on ASCII Plus showing off the front, rear and sizes of a tablet which looks very similar to the ones appearing in previous leaks.
The report does state that the device next to the current iPad Air in the shots is a mock up of Apple's tablet, so it has to be taken with a pince of salt - but again it's more of the same with no slider switch above the slightly redesigned volume keys.
Yet another set of images has emerged, this time supposedly showing the rear cover and they largely line up with what we've seen so far. It's evident from them that the volume controls have been recessed into the frame, while the speaker grille is now a single line of holes and there appears to be a microphone next to the rear camera.
As for what colours the iPad Air 2 will be available in, sources speaking to Bloomberg claim that there will be a gold option, alongside the expected silver and grey shades.
While we loved the iPad Air, there's always room for improvement. Head over to page two to see what we'd love to see on the iPad Air 2.
iPad Air 2: What we want to see
The iPad Air is a great device but even brilliance can be built upon, so there's room for improvement for Apple's sixth generation slate - aka the iPad Air 2.
Since the Air shares much of its design and many of its components with the latest iPad mini, some of this list overlaps with what we want to see for the iPad mini 3. But given the new iPad Air will be the flagship model, there are a few other things Apple could do.
A bigger screen
There's always a tradeoff between portability and screen size, but the success of some competing tablets shows that there is a market for devices larger than the iPad.
And before you dismiss the idea, remember this is the company that said it wouldn't build a smaller iPad and then went on to design the wildly successful iPad mini.
Recent rumours have raised the spectre of a 12.9-inch iPad, significantly larger than the current 9.7-inch screen and running at 2K or even 4K resolution.
While the current Retina display running at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels could arguably already be described as 2K or very close, having a physically larger screen would be good for movies and photo editing, and Apple likes to boast about statistics when it suits.
Of course, this could actually be the much-vaunted iPad Pro, which would mean the iPad Air would stay the same - and if that's the only way to maintain portability, we're all for it.
Current rumors are pointing to a more 'pressure sensitive' display, which would allow for better reception of prods from your digits and even that much-fabled iStylus that could do everything but make the tea for you.
Bluetooth mouse support
As the iPad gets more powerful it becomes a more realistic proposition as a work machine, with current models inching closer to being dubbed true laptop replacements. The only problem is that touch input just isn't as accurate as mouse input for some tasks.
Adding support for mice or graphics pen-style devices over Bluetooth could make the iPad a more usable device for more complex tasks, especially when it comes to graphics apps.
This would be quite a step for Apple since it touts touch as easy and intuitive, but it would nonetheless be welcomed by some users.
iPads have had a front-facing camera for ages, and the Camera app is already able to detect faces when focusing.
So it would be nice to have some means to unlock or authenticate your device by simply holding it up as you normally do and having the camera recognise you. However, there's a big caveat here: Apple needs to do what it did with Touch ID and make the system work instantly, and be very hard to spoof.
There are other possibilities instread, such as eye tracking, scrolling pages depending on your eye movements, or pausing movies when you look away. Again, we've seen these already, so we'd be looking to Apple to make the system flawless.
Like the Mini, the iPad Air still lacks the Touch ID sensor found in the new iPhone 5S. This seems a little odd for an expensive flagship device, and in future you can expect to see fingerprint sensing used for more than just unlocking a device, so putting it in the iPad would enable easier downloads, logins and even user switching.
Its current omission may be a cost issue, in the sense that Apple wants to protect its profit margins, but over time all technology tends to become cheaper so it would be a welcome inclusion.
A card slot
Look, we know that a lot of people reading this will laugh in our faces, but hear us out. We know there's no way Apple will put a card slot in its sleek, machine-tooled surfaces of its iPad but there's no doubt that a way to bring content more easily on and off the tablet is needed.
With games and bigger music and video apps easily eating up 1GB or more, the base 16GB iPad can quickly fill up, especially if you're going to be away from your computer and unable to re-sync new content easily.
So if it's not a card slot (which it won't be, unless the moon suddenly turns into a banana and gravity inverts) then some other ability to sync content - be it a digital locker, a Lightning port connector with card slot that can do more than just photos, or some other idea that multiple intelligent bods can dream up.
Come on Apple, we're not doing all the work for you.
A haptic screen
Touch is pretty amazing though we all take it for granted now. An interesting way for Apple to go could be to use a pressure-sensitive haptic screen in its iPad lineup.
As well as providing better interaction for painting and drawing apps, it could surely leverage the extra input information for other purposes like pressing hard on a link to open it in a new tab.
A file browser
This is more of an iOS wish than specifically an iPad one, but iOS currently provides no real access to a file storage or manipulation area.
Sure, third party apps do this, each in their own way but if Apple implemented it at a system level it could standardize the process of downloading files (not currently supported by Safari), saving documents and storing stuff so that all developers could provide a better overall experience - and would facilitate expandable storage in some form, as we mentioned earlier.
Apple wants you to use iCloud to sync all this kind of stuff but that presumes that you always have a network connection and that users will happily pay to upgrade the measly 5GB of standard iCloud storage associated with each Apple ID.
A quad core CPU
It's true that Apple's dual core A7 performs better than most quad core mobile CPUs in everyday use and this is down to the fact that by making the processor and the software and tightly controlling both, it can optimize everything very well.
But just imagine that level of expertise being applied to a quad core CPU. Track counts and frame rates would go up, render and load times would go down - it's going to happen at some point, and the boon in creativity, already one of Apple's taglines to buying it tablets, would be immense.
So a quad core iPad seems likely, though the timing is less clear. The physically larger battery available would mean the Air likely went quad core before the iPad Mini ever could - but would Apple really want to switch out its strategy?.
A better camera
The iPad's two cameras are good, but there's no real limit on how good people would like them to be.
It's not just about screen sizes, since the Air already shoots in HD, but improving the quality of the image, the zoom and stills performance would all be welcome and seem likely contenders for inclusion in future versions of the iPad, since camera technology is constantly improving.
And by the way, we don't mean the rear camera. That can go down to 2MP if it would make the design better, as it might discourage the scourge of tablet photography. We mean the front camera, improving it for use as a video conferencing tool and taking self portraits for social networks.
By live,we mean the ability to have two apps on screen at the same time. Imagine streaming iPlayer while checking your email, and not having to switch out of one to see the other.
There would have to be limits, like not allowing two apps to play sound at the same time, but it seems plausible enough on the larger screen of the Air, and with its significant processing power.
Again some other manufacturers have tried this with limited success, so it would be up to Apple to show them how to do it right - ideally it would be contextual or even Siri-driven, allowing you to be working on a spreadsheet or watching a movie and say 'Siri, is my train delayed?' and have what you were doing staying front and center with the information subtly popping up.