The rumors of a new iPad coming in 2011 simply won't die. This time around sources at DigiTimes state it will make its debut in September and hit the market in October. So will we really see the iPad 3 this year? Or is this simply another rumor?
Most rumors about the iPad turn out to be false. In the weeks leading up to the iPad 2 announcement, rumors swirled about an enhanced display, micro-USB port and built in HDMI port, all of which ended up being untrue. And we already have a host of iPad 3 rumors, including an enhanced display (again) and a 2011 launch.
But I wouldn't hold your breath for that 2011 launch. There are three big reasons why it makes more sense for Apple to hold off until March of 2011 and continue with a spring launch date.
At the top of that list is customer loyalty. A few months after the original iPhone debuted, Apple dropped the price of the 8 GB model from $599 to $399, and while Apple offered a $200 rebate for those who had bought the phone in the 14 days prior to the price drop, earlier adopters were outraged. This quickly led to Apple offering a $100 store credit to anyone who felt cheated. A company willing to pay out a $100 credit to "anyone who felt cheated" certainly keeps their eye on customer loyalty, and offering an iPad 3 just 7 months after the iPad 2 was released goes against that ethos.
Second on the list is product timing. New product launches are a great way to generate sales, not just from the product itself, but by getting people into the stores to buy accessories as well. Spacing out product launches makes sense in terms of getting people into the stores (or onto the Apple website) at different times of the year, not to mention the boost from people buying the new product itself.
And third is product overload, which could lead to lower sales. While consumers may be happy to buy a new iPhone in the fall and happy to buy a new iPad in the spring, asking them to buy both around the same time can be asking too much. This tempts the consumer to buy just one of the devices and wait on the other, which can sometimes lead to not buying it at all.
If not the iPad 3, then what?
As with any rumor, there is nothing stopping this one from being completely false. We may simply see an iPhone 5 launch in September/October and that's it. Or, Apple could launch an iPhone lite in order to better compete in emerging markets.
There has also been rumor of an iPad Mini, which would be an iPad with a 7 inch screen. An smaller iPad 2 with the same screen resolution and the same dual-cameras would allow Apple to compete with similar "mini tablets" on the market while presenting a device that is fully compatible with all iPad apps in the App Store.
A third-generation Apple TV device is also a possibility. While the idea of an Apple television has been floating around the news, that sort of device certainly won't replace Apples "hobby" of Apple TV. After all, you don't replace $100 device with a $1,000 device. Apple TV's last upgrade was in September of 2010, and many customers have suggested a device with a significant amount of storage space would be nice.
But in the end, we'll probably just have to wait until August to find out.
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