While attention is focused on tomorrow's launch of the new iPad, an analyst has cast some light on other potential Apple product launches coming this year.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek believes that Apple will update both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines in the second quarter of 2012.
Misek says that there will be a processor refresh across both line-ups - presumably to utilise Intel's new Ivy Bridge chips - and that the new models will come with Mountain Lion installed. He also believes that the 15in MacBook Pro will get an HD screen.
We've heard plenty of rumours and reports from Apple's supply chain that both MacBook families would get a refresh this year, with rival analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray predicting that new MacBook Airs would launch this month. Reports from Taiwan suggest that the MacBook Pro line could be updated in April. However, we've since heard from Intel that shipments of the Ivy Bridge processors would be delayed.
In a note to investors seen by Macworld, Misek also claims to be aware of "early production evidence" of a connected TV set.
"We believe specialty components have begun to ship to Apple's Asia panel suppliers with polarized films, filters, and IGZO components starting to move in small quantities," said Misek. He added that he expected the device to launch in the fourth quarter of 2012 having gone into mass production in May or June.
Misek also briefly discusses the new iPad, saying that concerns about display production had been overblown. Reports from the Far East suggest that Samsung is currently the sole supplier of displays for the new iPad, as Sharp and LG Display had been having trouble meeting Apple's quality standards.
"While in Asia we performed some channel checks and uncovered that Samsung and Sharp have ramped 264 PPI [Retina display] panels. While LG has been unable to and may ultimately be excluded as IGZO comes online from Sharp and Samsung in the coming weeks. We feel comfortable with the iPad 3 build plans."
However, Misek believes that the feeling about the new iPad among investors in Asia is quite pessimistic, not because of display production, but because it doesn't use an A6 processor, merely an upgrade A5 chip.
"We have to admit we thought the A6 was in the iPad 3, but the fact it is a quad core GPU soothes our concerns as graphics are really the issue from a user's perspective. We continue to believe the A6 will be in the iPhone 5," he said.
Misek believes that between 12 million and 15 million new iPads will be built by the end of the first quarter of 2012, with that number potentially hitting 20 million for Q2.
Finally, there are some thoughts on the iPhone. Misek reckons that Foxconn could build as many as 150 million iPhones this year, with Pegatron building another 40 million. There will be an iPhone 5 launch in Q3, which could have a 4in or larger screen, an A6 processor, and a refreshed, wider design, he believes.