It’s all, but confirmed that the next iPhone is going to be announced on September 10th, and that could include two different iPhones as well as the launch of iOS 7. The iPad though is left on the back burner, and it seems like the next generation will eventually be released, but it’s not exactly clear when. The iPhone is obviously Apple’s biggest money maker, but the iPad is a key component of the entire company, especially with the iPad mini under the same category. The question is why is Apple letting the next iPad shrivel on the vine, rather than pick it when it’s ripe?
Apple could be holding off on the next iPad to follow last year’s strategy of new iPhone in September and new iPad in October. That made sense last year with the whole new product line of the iPad mini. Do the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 deserve their own separate event? It doesn’t seem like there’s that many changes as the iPad 5 is set to adopt an iPad mini like form factor, while the mini is set to gain the retina display. I don’t know how Apple will extend that out into an hour and a half event.
The launch of the next generation iPads could also be delayed by the retina display for the iPad mini. Apple may be having a tough time of producing the 7.9” retina screen to scale in the millions. Apple is now keeping both iPads together, so even if the iPad 5 has been ready for a while, it needs to wait for the mini. The main problem is that we have come to expect a new iPad in the spring, and now it seems Apple has shifted all of their products to a fall refresh cycle. That leaves the current iPad getting long in the tooth, and the new features of the next iPad may become stale as it sits in wait.
Apple is putting all of their eggs in one basket, which is the holiday quarter, or in other words the fourth quarter of the calendar year, and Apple’s first fiscal quarter. It leaves Apple’s three other fiscal quarters running on the fumes of the holiday quarter. Previously, Apple has given boosts to other quarters by staggering their releases, but that’s not the case for 2013. There will be a whole lot of attention on Apple in time for the holiday shopping season with new iPhones in September, and new iPads in October, but what does that leave for the first nine months of 2014? Also, if Apple is transitioning their refresh cycle to always come in the fall, consumers may come to expect that, and it could hurt the spring and summer quarters as people hold off on purchases until the holiday quarter.
The iPads have also been receiving very incremental updates over the years, and a longer refresh cycle makes the jump between generations even more disappointing. Apple could do so much with the iPad, and since 2010 we have essentially gotten a new chip, slimmer design, retina display, and that’s it. Now, we’re given an even slimmer design with a new chip, and Apple is still leaving most of the potential of the 9.7” touch device untapped. When the first beta of iOS 7 launched back in June, the iPad version was delayed a couple of weeks. Apple could have been potentially working on special features, but they left it virtually the same as the iPhone version of iOS 7, but stretched to a bigger screen. Third party developers have done an amazing job in extending the uses of the iPad, but Apple’s base OS keeps treating the iPad like a big iPod touch. That could be the main reason that the iPad is being left on the back burner this fall, as Apple may just not know what to do with it next, without sacrificing the friendly nature of iOS that’s fitted for smartphones.
New iPads are coming, but they appear to be coming with little fanfare, and even lower enthusiasm from Apple.