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.