It was probably too much to ask that we make it to the end of the year without firing up the new [new (new)] iPad rumour mill, especially given that it's barely been two months since the iPad 4 appeared. And yet!
There is, says Macotakara — a site that's usually pretty good at this sort of thing — a new iPad in the works. It will, says the site's unnamed source, look like a powered-up iPad mini and will be available in March. One of those things is probably true. The other is wolf-face crazy.
When Apple released the iPad mini last fall, it took the opportunity to rip off two Band-Aids at once. First, it updated its biggie iPad to the lightning connector standard. Good! Uniform product lines are healthy for everybody. But even more crucially, from Cupertino's point of view, is that it put the full-size iPad on the holiday buying schedule. Early spring had always been a strange time to release such a popular Christmas gift; there was every guarantee that what you were unwrapping would be obsolete in three months. No longer. Again, good!
The first half of today's rumour makes so much sense that you'd hardly need a source to put it out there; the next iPad will be thinner, lighter, and adopt some of the iPad mini's anodised goodness. The next generation of Product X will be thinner and lighter is a non-starter; what gadget doesn't strive for that every time out? And picking up iPad mini design cues is — like slapping the lightning connector in there — a necessary step towards keeping a nice clean consistent product line-up. It is a no-brainer. No arguments here, super-vague unnamed single Macotakara source.
But then we get to that March release, which makes the opposite of sense. Not only would putting another iPad out in three months mean that Apple has released three updates to one of its biggest products in a single year (who do they think they are, HTC?), it would throw the iPad back off the holiday buying schedule. Not only that; it would create two consecutive generations of iPad buyers who feel like they got shafted.
It's not like there's a major spec bump Apple needs to keep up with the competition, either; it's the best full-size tablet as is already. Could the iPad be better? Sure. But Apple doesn't need it to be until next fall. Which is, coincidentally, when people will be most interested in emptying their wallets for them.
What this rumour seems like — and what most will be until we get closer to an actual release — is a rehash of obvious points mixed with misguided guessing. You don't need a source to tell you that the next iPad will look more like the iPad mini, any more than you do that each generation of MacBook Pro will look more like the MacBook Air. Just like, on the flip side, you don't need to listen to rumours that don't make any sense. [Macotakara via 9to5Mac]