According to leaked part numbers revealed this morning by 9to5Mac, Apple is likely set to launch 24 separate models of new iPads next week. Those 24 models include both black and white variants in various capacities and configurations.
There are several possibilities for which iPads the part numbers represent. It could represent four varying storage capacities for the iPad Mini, as AppleInsider suggests – but that represents more storage capacities than Apple offers with any other iOS device.
It could also denote models with and without cellular capabilities – although given the “good, better, best” designations, which reveal that there will be at least 3 storage capacities, that seems unlikely, as they would need to offer 36 models to account for three capacities with and without a cellular option.
More interesting, 9to5Mac notes that it’s also possible that some of the part numbers could refer to a revised version of the third-gen iPad with a lightning connector, as rumors have been predicting for the last couple of months.
Those 24 models could represent 18 iPad Mini configurations (black + white, 3 different capacities), leaving six configurations for the revised third-gen iPad (black and white, 3 separate capacities). This seems to be the most likely possibility, and offers what I consider the most reasonable explanation (and possibly the only explanation that fits) for the 24 models.