When do you predict the iPad 3 will be released?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Mad Mac Maniac, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    Now that (some of) the iPad 2 hype is over... What are your legitimate thoughts on the next iPad release? Will it stay on a yearly release cycle? Does John Gruber have any real insight on the iPad 3 being released with the iPod updates in September, and I guess stay at a yearly release cycle from there?? (this really doesn't make sense to me, because the iPad is a completely different product and would completely overshadow the iPods...)

    I've had some free time and been thinking about this a bit. And my off-the-wall prediction is that the iPad 3 will be released in early November 2011. I know everyone on here is programmed to believe the iPad is on a 1 year cycle but read though my reasoning before you dismiss me entirely.

    Last minute removals from iPad 2
    There were rumors that many things got pulled from the iPad 2 at the last minute due to "engineering issues". Also, the "retina" double resolution display was something that was scrapped due to pricing, but the price may easily be lowered enough to make it for a late 2011 launch. Basically, I think that at this point Apple already knows what the iPad 3 will look like. It seems to be a simple, straightforward upgrade that can easily be accomplished in 8 months.

    Holiday season is important
    The iPad 2 will probably be looking pretty stale come December... the iPad did fine in last holiday season, because it was such a game changer that nobody was able to release anything substantial to combat it. They have woken up since then, and between now and Christmas I bet there will be nearly a dozen worthy iPad 2 competitors. Apple wouldn't want to miss such an important sales season.

    Competition is heating up
    As I alluded to above there is a lot of competition coming soon for the iPad, and I'm sure Apple will want to aggressively keep their lead. The iPhone has already fallen behind Android, just as the Mac fell behind windows. I think this Post-PC world is one that Apple wants to grab a hold and not let go of!

    One year product cycle doesn't make sense for the iPad
    A one year product cycle makes sense for the iPhone, because most phone contracts are two years, and some companies were willing to allow early upgrades for some iPhone users at a yearly interval... but that wouldn't have been possible with 8-10 month upgrades. The iPod one year release cycle worked because they had already dominated that market, there was no real competition. (if you look at the first 3 years the iPod was updated about every 6 months) Plus this allowed for Apple to run that "back to school" special every summer with a free iPod. (I don't see the iPad being given way for free)

    Yearly spring updates are a bad model
    That means that the iPad would always be getting old come Christmas time every single year. Apple would be wise to prevent this cycle. And there is nothing particularly great about march. The iPhone will stay in the summer because Apple always unveils their new iOS during the summer. The iPod Touch is always going along with the other iPods and follows the updates its "big brother" the iPhone just received. March is bad because it is so far out of sync with the iOS updates coming 9 months after a new OS. There is nothing beneficial about keeping the updates at this time.

    iPad is more like a computer
    Apple typically has released their mac refreshes every 8-10 months. I feel that the iPad is really much more in-line with the Mac line.

    Accelerated product cycle
    This will ultimately result in a more Mac-like refresh cycle. It will have more moderate upgrades every 8-10 months instead of a slightly larger one every year. This will also help to continually fend off the competition.

    The iPad ALREADY is on an accelerated product cycle
    The iPad 2 was actually already released 10-11 months after the first iPad (depending on wifi or 3g model). And actually the release cycle is even FASTER for all the international markets. two dozen countries will have the iPad 2 this week, and I don't know when they all got the original one, but if I were to look them up I bet they range from 6 -8 months. I think Apple will launch internationally much more quickly from now on. So anyone who thinks Apple is on a 1 year release cycle is already wrong...

    Keep last gen iPad
    I believe that starting in November, Apple will keep selling the last gen iPads at a discount. This would lower the overhead of closing their production line every 8-10 months, because that production would end up lasting for 16-20 months. This is exactly what they did with the iPhone (started offering the 2nd gen when the 3rd gen came out). This will also allow the iPad to reach a budget audience (after apple unveils their budget iPhone this summer). Apple wants to sell products to everyone possible.

    Those are my thoughts, and although it is complete speculation on my part, I believe it makes sense. I think Apple would be very wise to keep this in mind.
  2. Mac.World macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2011
    In front of uranus
    IPad 1 was released a month early likely to take the steam out of Xoom and Samsung. However, I firmly believe that Apple will stick to their annual cycle.

    So, March or April 2012 will be the release of the iPad 3. Don't see it happening this year, regardless of Xmas and holiday sales.
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3GS: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8F190 Safari/6533.18.5)

    This time next year.
  4. Mad Mac Maniac thread starter macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    What annual cycle?? for the iPhone? iPods? Why would you think the iPad would be on the same cycle as those completely different products? The iPad is already on a 10-11 month cycle. And as I stated it will probably be released just 6-8 months after the release of the iPad in some international countries. Apple has TONS of other products besides iPhones and iPods and NONE of them are on a yearly upgrade cycle. apple doesn't like to box themself into NEEDING to release at a certain time of the year. That's why they withdrew from MacWorld

    Samsung still hasn't released a tablet so I don't think they are relevant to the conversation. And I doubt that Apple would have moved their release up due to the Motorola Xoom. The Xoom has made little impact
  5. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    The iPad is not like a Mac because it is a very tightly integrated mobile device. The reason Macs generally can be updated a couple times a year is that their primary components (e.g. CPU, GPU) can simply be swapped out for the newer off-the-shelf (more or less) model that fits the same size/power profile and poof, you get an improved Mac with relatively little effort on Apple's part.

    The iPad faces much more stringent power and space constraints such that suitable new hardware for it doesn't automatically appear in the market several times per year; Apple basically has to design and integrate it themselves, both in hardware and iOS.

    The closest thing to the iPad in the Mac world is the Macbook Air, which in fact has only been updated once per year so far.
  6. M87 macrumors 65816

    Jul 18, 2009
    It's not as though there's any credible competition right now. I don't see why they'd update early.
  7. Mad Mac Maniac thread starter macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    Good point, but I still think they can have updates more frequently than once a year. For example, the iPad 3 could fairly easily add a retina display and an sd card slot. No new battery, no new form factor, same A5 processor. Not EVERYTHING has to be redone every time. It will keep the iPad feeling "fresh". Because the iPhone 4 already feels old compared to the competition (not necessarily worse, just stale) and the iPhone 4 still won't be updated for another 4 months....

    I'm not saying every single cycle has to be 8 months, or even 10 months. I just don't think Apple should/will lock themselves into a required 12 month cycle. They might do 8 months this time, then 12 months, then 9 months. They will simply design a new iPad and release them as quickly as possible. Not sit on their hands and wait for the 12 month mark.

    and you aren't right about the MBA. The first couple updates took 9 and 8 months. Then the next one took a year and a half. That last update took forever because that was when they completely overhauled it to the new macbook air that we have today.

    but the iPad 2 has only been out for a week. surely you can't be so nearsighted as to assume that 9 months from now there won't be legitimate competition?
  8. Bartman01 macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2008
    Last year the iPad was released in April with rumors of an iPad 2 for Christmas (Nov timeframe). Seems to be the same with the iPad 2, released with rumors of iPad 3 following soon. My money is on iPad 3 Q1 or Q2 2012.
  9. whocaresit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2010
  10. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    Ah yes, Septombre- fake Spanish for "Spring 2012."

    Well I said once per year, which is precisely the MBA update frequency, as opposed to once every 12 months. I don't think the iPad will be updated every 12 months exactly either, mostly because that already is not the case. Once per year should do it though for the near future.
  11. Mad Mac Maniac thread starter macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    Well actually the mba was release in 2008 and was updated just 9 months later in 2008. Same year! :eek: and then 8 months later another update. The fact that a calendar year had passed since then is really irrelevant. I guess what you are trying to say is that the MBA has averaged a year in it's history. and while that is fairly accurate, I think you need to take into consideration that Apple stopped upgrading the MBA because it wasn't selling well, and waited till a complete redesign was prepared for the MBA that was released last October. And a new refresh is expected this summer. If you take out that one redesign period the MBA is expected to stay at around 8-9 month refresh cycles.

    I think the iPad 3 will be a very incremental upgrade. Sure, if Apple decides to redesign everything, or completely revolutionize the iPad then maybe it will take 12 months or more, but I don't think we will be able to set our watches to a predictable 12 month refresh cycle. And I do think we will be seeing an iPad 3 something in this calendar year. And yeah, I bet a lot of iPad 2 owners will be pissed, but technology doesn't stop for anyone.
  12. CerealKillers macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Hmm interesting. I personally waited till the iPad 2 came out because I'm a big Skype/FaceTime user so if the iPad 3 does come out in Q4 of 2011 then it won't be a real big deal for me. However given the whole 2011 is the year of the iPad 2 motif during the launch presentation I find it hard to see a third generation coming out any sooner than march/April 2012
  13. maczealot, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    maczealot macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2006
    Maybe they will just add a 2048x1536 resolution screen to the current iPad2 form factor and call it iPad 2x and release it this Fall. It would have to be at a higher price because there is no way it would be available in the $499 model. (By doing this they can get away with saying 2011 is the year of iPad 2 and not piss people off)

    Fall 2012 they would release iPad 3 with 2048x1536 resolution screen across the board and LTE wireless. By then developers would have updated their apps to the higher resolution, screens would be cheaper and LTE more widespread. (drools)

    I don't know why but John Gruber has convinced me that a 2x resolution iPad is coming this year and I can't wait!
  14. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    i believe the ipad will stick to an annual schedule, with the ipad 3 in spring, 2012. i also believe there will be a capacity bump in october, to 32/64/128.

    gruber has actually made a heavy case against a retina type ipad until system ram is at 1gb or more.
  15. mcdj, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    The tablet market is in its infancy. The iPad 2 is a testament to that. It's huge because its older brother was big. The iPad 3 will be gargantuan. Word is still just getting out about what an iPad even is or does. But at some point, perhaps at the iPad 4 or 5, things will start to slow down. The market will begin to saturate.

    Just ask any LCD TV salesman what has happened to the TV market in the past 2 years. They've desperately been trying to add bells and whistles to TVs in the past 2 years; they're sharper, thinner, they have 3D. But sales have flatlined because people just bought a $1500 TV 2 years ago…why buy another so soon?

    Like TVs, iPads don't have moving parts. The build quality is excellent. They'll last a while. The iPad 1 is still quite fast at what it does and will still be plenty useable in 2 years. Not everyone is a forum reading spec hound. Sure, everyone HERE will want the latest iPad every year, but soccer moms won't be buying an iPad every year. I suspect the average person might buy a new one every 3-4 years, just like their computers. And that's being generous.

    We're not talking about phones here. Phones are essential. iPads are not. Phone technology changes from year to year. Phones endure much more wear and tear than iPads and need replacing more frequently. iPads might get a bit faster, thinner, lighter or sharper, but there's only so much faster, thinner, lighter and sharper you can make a slab of screen.

    So why should Apple completely retool less than once a year and redefine the iPad (at considerable expense)? To sell a new one to a handful of must-have fetishists? Maybe. But I suspect that once they've got an iPad into a majority of the market's hands, they'll settle into a 2-3 year cycle between major overhauls and continue to focus on the real cash cow…content. The iPad is just the pipe. Content is the crack. :)
  16. EdwardMoffet, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    EdwardMoffet macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2011
    My guess is a 2012 launch, most likely spring. There's so much demand for the iPad 2 right now, and it's going to be awhile before they even meet that current demand, who knows when the demand will start to lessen. I know Apple isn't one to rest on their laurels and it's a high priority to release better versions of hardware asap to stay in demand and keep competition strong. But I think that, in this case, releasing an iPad 3 as early as this Fall would have the opposite effect and would end up pissing off the people who bought an iPad 2, especially since people may not be able to feasibly get one for another couple months and even later in other territories world wide.

    I can, however, see them release an "ipad nano" type device in a 7in form factor with a retina display. The smaller size would keep the cost of the retina display down and would also keep it from really competing with a full size ipad.

    The reason why the iPad 2 was able to release so soon after the first was because it brought some serious CPU/GPU upgrades (something I don't see changing in the iPad 3, except maybe the RAM) cameras (even if they're lower quality, they do matter to people) and the garageband and imovie apps definitely caught people's eye because they demonstrate the ipad as a productivity device, in addition to it being a consumption device (they were definitely a selling point for me).

    I think the iPad 3, when it's released will be the more "incremental" upgrade, it will probably have a better screen, better cameras, and built in video out and storage upgrade, and MAYBE flash (that's really 50/50 though) but I don't think it will be able to do anything better than the ipad 2 software wise because I think they'll have the same cpu/gpu set. iPad 2's performance increases give it the ability to run games better, do better multitasking, etc. If iPad 3 did release soon, I can see people who don't own a tablet getting one, but I can't see TOO many people upgrading (diehard fans and affluent techies aside) because most of them will have bought an iPad 2, and it won't have any more capabilities as far as what you can do with it, it will just be a more polished iPad 2 experience with a prettier screen, better cameras, and built in I/O.

    People say the hardware upgrade in the iPad 2 isn't a big deal, but it will be in the future when more devs really take advantage of it. 2x the CPU power and 9x the GPU are nothing to scoff at, there's a lot of possibilities there, and games aren't the only sector that will benefit. That's actually another reason why I don't think they'll increase the hardware capabilities of the iPad 3, because even if it released a year from now, devs would still be squeezing power from the iPad 2 chipset and it wouldn't be a good idea to upgrade the gpu/cpu when the previous chipset hasn't been exhausted. No, it's smarter to keep the ipad 2 current, maybe release an iPad nano device this fall (with a retina display and possibly better cameras since its form factor would make more sense as a photo taking device), then spring or maybe fall 2012 release the iPad 3 with a retina display, better cameras, built in SD and perhaps HDMI.
  17. Fliesen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2010
    I don't think, Apple would choose this 'slogan' specifically, if they had been planning a fall release of the iPad 3. They could have used another wording to keep the possibility of an 'early' iPad 3 alive. But this one pretty much makes me believe they'll stick with a release next Spring

  18. EdwardMoffet, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    EdwardMoffet macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Very good point, I didn't even think of that.

    EDIT: ALSO, to the point that people make about apple wanting to release closer to christmas time. I think it would be wiser to release christmas 2012, then they could pretty much get everything they want to in it (maybe even a cpu/gpu upgrade) and have some time to build stock as well. And it's pretty feasible that the iPad 2 will still be a hot item around christmas 2011.
  19. Amnesia87 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2010
    I think the OP is failing to realize a few things,

    First, you are totally ignoring the development costs of releasing new tech extremely quickly, especially when you consider that the current iteration is having no issues selling, and won't for the foreseeable future.

    Let's just say the development cost for a version of the iPad is ~50mil (totally made up number, no clue what they cost to design, could be 10mil or 500mil)

    Now let's say that apple is meeting or exceeding their sales expectations (don't even try and act like they won't)

    Why would apple bother to release a 3rd gen tablet and waste all the development costs on a device prematurely?

    Apple also likes to wait between generations of other companies devices so that it looks like they are more advanced than they are.

    Apple will probably wait until a few months after the 3rd gen (if you consider xoom 2nd gen) Honeycomb tablets come out to release their new even moar better tablet. This gives them time to better match their specs to the competition and increases the chances of us seeing a retina display.

    What I could see Apple release in like 6months, is a LTE iPad 2.

    Anyways, the other really large issue in your theory is the current situation in Japan, while the effects likely won't be THAT dramatic for Apple, it will cause delays in both manufacture, and adjustments in design for unreleased devices which will also cause delays.

    The bigger effect will be the delays on other companies, which will reduce the demand for Apple to update quickly.

    Do you honestly think Apple will have a hard time moving iPad 2s come Christmas time?

    The original iPad was outselling the Xoom despite the difference in specs, Apple sells an experience, not just a product, and that isn't going to change.

    There are also a few flaws in your reasoning, you talk about the competition heating up, but from where I'm standing, at least for now, it looks like the iPad is slaughtering everything else, and I don't think that's going to change just because someone slaps some more ram or a faster processor in a non iPad tablet.

    As for your statements regarding the holiday season, while I'm sure tablets will do decent sales during the holidays, that's not really what apple is aiming for, the iPad's price is a bit beyond your average gift price, and it isn't really a necessity type buy, what apple is targeting is something far more heinous...

    Tax return checks. People LOVE to spend their tax returns of unessential things, (that's how I got my iPad this year)

    Apple also doesn't want to overlap their releases too close to each other, the last thing apple wants to do is cannibalize their own sales because customers ran out of money on the last product 2 months ago.

    Long story short, all of your theory is based on the idea that Apple is facing any sort of real risk of losing the tablet market, or that anything coming in the next 3-6 months will really be anything more than a similarly spec'd device that is running a less refined OS and or will somehow find the hipness that Apple currently enjoys. Alot of what's to come also depend on what apple does with iOS 5.

    At the end of the day I just can't see why Apple would NEED to release a new iPad early. I'm not saying they couldn't, Apple could release a tablet in 2-3 months that would outspec the 2, but why would they? Anyone who was going to buy an iPad for Christmas isn't going to be waiting for March anyway.

    One last thing you are ignoring are the risks in upsetting customers be releasing earlier than they expected, and the dangers in meeting supply during holiday season. Production for the iPad 2 is just ramping up, and clearly is not currently meeting demand. So Apple is currently tooling around to get iPad 2 production up to snuff, they also are probably beginning to work on backend production for the iPhone 5. It will probably be 3-6 months before production of the iPad can truly meet demand, especially with Japan.

    Releasing early would mean retooling your entire production line and during holiday season the demand would be SUBSTANTIALLY greater, and customers are far more inclined to become extremely upset when they can't get ahold of their precious device in time for Christmas.

    It also would raise costs as Apple would have to source new parts, a big part of the reason the iPad is at the quality it is for the price it is, is the volume and length of term which Apple buys the parts for it's products. Apple is able to buy in extremely large volume BECAUSE the product cycle is long. They can secure long term contracts for specific parts because they aren't constantly changing them.

    Anyways. Time for sleep.

    IMO there will be no TRUE iPad 3 in 2011 (4g is possible though)
  20. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    I am betting by the end of this year as competition is heating up and Apple has REAL hardware competing against it iPad.

    Heck, if Apple would just un tether the iPad2 it would do much to keep it on top but it will be tied to iTunes forever!
  21. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Makes little sense for apple to suddenly replace the iPad 2 a few months after releasing it. I think they'll be sticking to the annual update
  22. mullman macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2004
  23. Blakjack macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2009
    OP, none of your points are worth an early launch of iPad 3. There is no competition even at this point. Who out there has a real rival to iPad 1?!! Apples price point alone is killing any would be competition. Hp is the only decent comp and they probably wont be hitting sales floors unitl another 2 1/2 to 3 months.
  24. blueridge macrumors 6502


    Mar 14, 2011
    Western NC
    i predict next spring.. this christmas season they will drop the price of the original even more and thus anyone can have an ipad for $250-299.. i dont see the ipad 2 dropping price.. but it will still be a hot seller..
  25. JorgeG macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    This time next year or before other tabs next year.

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