04 Aug 2011
iPad Pro. iPad 2 HD. iPad 3.
Call it what you will, Apple will not be releasing a new iPad this fall.
The iPad 2 with a hi-res screen has no place in Apple’s current pricing scheme.
The 64GB 3G iPad retails for $829. The 64GB MacBook Air retails for $999. The iPad Pro will not be cheaper than the high-end iPad.1 It will not be more expensive than a MacBook Air. Either A: Apple is doing a price drop on the “normal” iPad and making room for the iPad Pro or B: there is no iPad Pro.
Our store just started to receive sufficient iPads that we can actually keep them on the shelves at my store. It took four-and-a-half months for that to happen. Granted, we are education Canada and not retail USA, but as Dan Frommer mentions on SplatF: “supply and demand are finally in balance for the first time since Apple started shipping the new iPad in March”.
The latest we would see Apple release a new or updated product is October. After that, it will not be arriving until the 2012. Were a new iPad to arrive in the fall, it would arrive less than three months after the supply started meeting demand. Come the holiday season, there are still going to be people who are interested in the existing machines.
The newest generation of the iPhone comes out this fall. They are overhauling iOS for the iPod Touch (3rd and 4th Generation), the iPhone (3Gs, 4, and 5), and the iPad (1 and 2). They are also likely going to revamp their iPod line in some way.2 Finally, Apple has not forgotten about the Mac Pro.
That is a busy enough schedule that something is going to be left behind. And I am ignoring the possibility of two, distinct models of the iPhone 5; the obvious push that Apple is making with the Apple TV; and iCloud. Now we are putting a new iPad on that massive pile too?
Apple is possible of meeting such a release schedule, I fail to see how it would be in their best interest.
Back in February, John Gruber made some suggestions at Apple’s roadmap for the Next Six Months:
iPad 3, shipping in September, announced at the annual iPod event. Running iOS 5.1, same as the next-generation iPod Touch.
How could Apple release a third-generation iPad just six months or so after the second one? Maybe it won’t be an actual next generation model. Maybe it’s more like an iPad 2.5, or iPad 2 Pro — a new higher-end model that sits atop the iPad product family, not a replacement for the iPad 2 models (which, of course, haven’t even been released yet).
Sure, it differed from Apple’s traditional release schedule, but his reasoning was sound and he has always had a knack for knowing Apple, so it stuck. The idea transformed from the idle thoughts of a prominent tech writer to a certainty within the Apple rumour mill. Hell, I had customers suggest to me that they were holding off for that very reason.3
Then came the iPad 2 with a supply unable to come close to meeting the demand for the entire duration of Q3. Apple held off on announcing a new iPhone at WWDC, instead making it the summer of Operating Systems. And the white, polyurethane Macbook was discontinued.4 All of this came and went, but the tune has remained the same: we will see a new iPad before the leaves finish turning.
At the time, I agreed with the post John Gruber made back in February, because he made sense at the time. Now, I disagree with it, because the situation has changed so dramatically. Even Gruber has changed his roadmap:
Apple still can’t make the existing iPads fast enough, and none of their competitors on the market seem to be making any dent in the market. So even if Apple could do a retina-display iPad this year, I’m not sure there’s any reason they should.
So where the hell is the rest of the tech industry?
“No, they will not offer a 16GB WiFi model.” ↩
“I am content with the designs as they stand. Maybe a memory jump coupled with a slight price drop. Or not. The iPod, which revitalized Apple as a company, has already peaked.” ↩
“These are regular people and not Apple nerds. When they start talking about something, it has gotten pretty big.” ↩
If you do not think that this point is directly related to discussions about the iPad, think about why Apple would get rid of a product that still managed decent sales: they were eliminating a confusing product that no longer had a place in their family of laptops. ↩