Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to release its fifth generation iPad some time this Autumn, and rumors are swirling about the shape, size, screen and everything else that will describe the device. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases the device in the coming months, it will be the first time that the iPad and the iPhone might be saddled with the same generation number.

Apple ipad mini

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hardly released two iPads last year and staggered releases of new numbered iPhones in order to bring this day down upon us, but who would put it past the company? There are reasons to believe that the iPad release may mirror the release of the new iPhones in more ways than one. This Autumn could be the advent of the iPad 5c.

Cheaper iPad isn’t working

There are a few good reasons that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) refused to launch a cheap iPhone this year. One of the big ones is the reception that the iPad Mini received. The high-quality small tablet had low margins and cannibalized sales of the iPad 4 last Christmas. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not going to release an iPad Mini to do the same thing this year.

There are many different strategies Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could try in order to boost its tablet sales, but it may just rely on a strategy it has already developed for the iPhone. Linking the iPad and iPhone models by generation name could be incrementally positive for the upgrade cycle, and changing the mission statement of the iPad Mini could see less cannibalization and higher margins.

Apple iPad 5s and iPad 5c release

A release from a French Apple rumor website, discovered by way of Business Insider, shows that the next iPad Mini will probably come with a colored back. The rumor came complete with pictures of an iPad Mini case in Space Grey, the new black at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

The new iPad range will likely have colors matching up to the iPhone 5s. If it didn’t, the famous Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) design homogeneity would be shattered. The new iPad Mini, or iPad 5c, might come in a range of colors, mirroring its iPhone big brother. If the back of the device is the Super Chamfered Unapologetically Plastic Polycarbonate, all the better.

screen shot 2013-09-18 at 9.57.42 am

An iPad 5c would be positive for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) margins if the company brings the same design standards to the table that it did with the iPhone 5c. It would be great for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) cannibalization problem by segmenting customers into Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) purists and everyone else, just like the iPhone 5c.

The iPhone 5c was a positive development for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Apple loves things to be simple, consolidated and unified. With the generation numbers matching up, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may release the iPad 5c this year.

There are incremental positives and some stylistic preference that could lead Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) toward an iPad 5c release in 2013. Whether the company does, and how the market reacts, will be interesting to see.