(By Mani) As the year 2012 winds down and a new year 2013 dawns, let's take a look at some of the most anticipated gadgets rumored to be launched this year.
If we call rumors, then let's begin with none other than Apple Inc.(NASDAQ: AAPL).
Cupertino, California-based Apple is expected to unveil the second edition of iPad Mini with retina display, which would boost the display quality by miles compared to the first-generation of iPad Mini. Japanese site Macotakara says that the new iPad Mini would feature A6X processor.
Moreover, it is speculated that a thinner, lighter fifth-generation iPad too will hit the stores in March. If that happens, it would be too quick as Apple released the iPad Mini and iPad 4 just released in November. However, if the recent trend is to believed, one may not rule out the possibility of a quicker upgrade as Apple launching iPad 4 just eight months after it launched iPad 3.
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"iPad Mini Gen-2: Apple's gen-2 iPad mini is getting pulled-in, and is likely to have several new suppliers, with TXN gaining content," RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman wrote in a note to clients.
Meanwhile, Apple is also speculated to be readying its next-generation iPhone featuring Sharp's ultra-thin IGZO display and extend it other products. According to a report on DigiTimes, its sources said Apple is in talks with Sharp over IGZO panel production capacity estimates for 2013 and is also inquiring about whether AU Optronics' L5C line could be used to produce the technology.
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Now, here is the most interesting rumor. A report from the Chinese website iphone.tgbus.com claims that Apple is readying a connected device (tentatively called iWatch) that a user can wear around the wrist that connects with your iPhone and allows you to attend calls. Apple is said to be joining with none other than chip-maker Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) to produce this device, which is rumored to feature a 1.5-inch OLED screen.
In addition, Apple is expected to release the much-anticipated iTV in 2013.
Now, we will move to Samsung.
Samsung is giving a tough competition to Apple iPhone with its galaxy series of smartphones, with the latest Galaxy S3 giving sleepless nights for Tim Cook. The Korean technology giant is expected to release Galaxy S4 in the first-half with impressive specs, including a 2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 13MP rear camera, and above all, a bendable 5.5-inch screen.
"Samsung display will be ready to ship unbreakable plastic substrate screen by 2q end, with bendable in 2h13. Galaxy 4 likely ships a month early if carriers want it at the end of March, semis to support will start mid-Feb. All products best in class, including AC, WiFi, NFC and applications processor," Freedman noted.
If Apple and Samsung are vying for one another's' heads, then the silent winner is Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which had stunning success with its Kindle Fire devices. Now, it sees a good opportunity in smartphones.
If a report on the Taiwan Economic News to be believed, Amazon has approached Foxconn to make its first ever smartphone, which may run on the Android OS and carry a consumer-friendly $200 price tag. Meanwhile, a second-generation Kindle Fire HD tablet is also said to be in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is rumored to unveil the XBOX 720 for the holiday 2013 season along with updates to hardware and Kinect Technology.
Finally, Research In Motion, Inc. (NASDAQ: RIMM) (TSE: RIM) would release its final weapon for its survival – BlackBerry 10 – in the first quarter. The new BlackBerry devices are rumored to have a BlackBerry Hub, intelligent keyboard with improved touch screen functionality.
RIM is betting heavily on this revamped operating system that got some rave reviews from technology experts. It remains to be seen how consumers will embrace it as RIM might find it difficult to make them shift to a new ecosystem from already established iOS and Android. Not to forget, Microsoft is also slowly making inroads in the smartphone space with its Windows 8 OS.
Nevertheless, 2013 would be a year with some interesting devices waiting to be unveiled much to the delight of the consumers. So, get ready to shop some cool gadgets in the New Year.