The Even Newer iPad: Is Seven Months Too Soon?

eHow Tech Blog

Let’s go for a stroll down memory lane. You might remeber that the first iteration of Apple’s mega-popular iPad tablet was released on April 3, 2010. The iPad 2 followed in March of 2011, and the third generation was launched this past March, in 2012. It seemed safe to assume that the fourth generation would arrive in the spring of next year, but yet Apple announced it this week at a recent media event. Which begs the question: Is seven months just too soon for the release of another iPad?

The newest version of the iPad goes on sale on November 2, and will feature a new Apple A6X processor, improved front & rear cameras, a change from the traditional 30-pin dock connector to the Lightning connector that was introduced with the iPhone 5, and more global support for LTE in select models. As updates go, this is a fairly minor one, but the news that a fourth generation iPad was following just seven months after the last still comes as a bit of a shock.

While the announcement of the diminutive iPad Mini was all but confirmed to be happening at the latest event, the updated iPad had only received a whisper here or there over the past few months. It was only a few days before the event that any sort of leaked images appeared that showed off the new model. Many pundits brushed it off as it just seemed too soon after the release of the “new” iPad this past March.

While a seven month refresh is not unheard of for Apple products, the general rule of thumb for its iOS devices – iPod touch, iPhone and iPad – has been a year or so. For those who picked up the third generation iPad, it’s just long enough to not be a complete kick in the gut, but it’s still short enough to make you wonder why Apple didn’t just somehow merge the two updates together.

Apple announced this week that since the introduction of the iPad (a mere two-and-a-half years ago), it has sold over 100 million units globally, so the company has to be doing something right. Bringing out a newly improved model just before the all-important holiday shopping season may not be the dumbest of moves. And now, with the iPad mini starting with a price of $329, the iPad 2 at $399 and the fourth generation iPad beginning at $499, Apple has just about every price point covered.

The big question remains: What will happen to those who plan to upgrade each year? Customers who fall into this demographic may not be the largest concern for a company that is selling 100 million units in such a short time span. While “early adopters” have been known to be the most important customers for years in consumer electronics, the iPad may have reached a point where they have truly become a negligible concern.

Of course, knowing what we know now, an even bigger question for those who do wish to update frequently is how long will it be until we see the iPad 5?

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