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Apple may spring a tablet-sized surprise in April, a market research company claims, as it bids to extend its lead in the market for high-end, larger tablets.

According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, the Cupertino-based tech giant will host a showcase event in early Q2 to launch a refreshed version of the full-sized iPad, which will feature an all-new design that takes more than the odd cue from the iPad mini.

In a note to clients, Munster said: "We believe that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April.

“Over the past two years, the spring event has been iPad updates."

The influential stats-mangler claims that the remixed iPad will be a much more radical overhaul than the iPad 4, which was damned in some quarters as merely an incremental upgrade, and will see Apple introduce a “body style similar to the iPad mini”.

As for the actual iPad mini, Munster doesn't anticipate that we’ll see the mooted Retina-display-toting second iteration of the micro-slate until much later in the year, with the risk of component supply shortages likely to weigh heavily on Apple’s timing.

Signs that Apple may be about to drop a new slate came after it courted controversy from fanboys when the iPad 4 hit retail just six months after the iPad 3, sparking ire from buyers annoyed that their newly purchased device had suddenly become a lot less a la mode.


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