Investors can count on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sticking to its tried-and-true playbook. The Mac maker places a very high priority on making devices thinner and lighter, consistently improving those two qualities when it refreshes products. To that end, it's no surprise that the fifth-generation iPad is rumored to be shedding some bulk and weight.

DIGITIMES reports that Apple is preparing to ramp up production of the new model starting in July, and is targeting a monthly production rate of 2 million to 3 million units by September. The Retina display is expected to have the same specs, but built on a thinner glass substrate. Apple may also transition from two LED backlights to just one.

Taking design cues from the iPad Mini, the company may also slim down the bezels to make it easier to hold. The fifth-generation model is expected to be 25% to 33% lighter than the fourth-generation model.

When Apple unveiled the fourth-generation iPad last fall, it threw the entire product cycle up in the air. The Mac maker's tablet has had a relatively strange upgrade history. Following a full makeover in 2011, Apple has kept the same overall industrial design but upgraded the device's internals twice last year, much to the chagrin of third-generation iPad buyers.

Apple used to launch new models in March or April, which are now in the rearview mirror. Chances are that new iPads are among other devices set to be unveiled "this fall," which would make the current design in use for 2.5 years. That's longer than the average two-year cycle that Apple has implemented with the iPhone, repurposing Intel's famous tick-tock model.

The iPad is in need of a redesign, which will help the company defend sales in the full-sized segment. Apple is starting to lose market share, but that's partly a function of the broader tablet market just growing so quickly.

Apple knows that making mobile devices more mobile will boost sales. It's no shocker that the next iPad will be thinner and lighter.