UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong on this. New new iPad is out today.
Over on App.net, Marco Arment has been wondering about today’s iPad announcement from Apple. One thing he asked:
If the iPad 3 gets updated tomorrow, presumably Apple’s done with the spring iPad updates and will release in the fall from now on, fixing the just-got-one-for-the-holidays frustration with the current iPad release cycle.
Logically, that thinking makes sense, but you also have to bear in mind what currently happens with iPad cycles. First, Apple has a two-spike strategy. In spring, the iPad is updated, causing a major sales spike. Apple then gets ‘holiday’ spikes for free in the winter, regardless. By moving new iPads to the autumn, Apple loses its spring spike.
Secondly, Apple always has massive problems in fulfilling demand. New iPads are often thin on the ground for months after release, and the international rollout is rarely immediate. It’s one thing being frustrated in not getting your new iPad in April or May, but November and December? Apple might lose a little goodwill in people buying iPads for the holidays and then announcing a new one in late-spring, but it’ll lose a hell of a lot more goodwill if it releases new iPads in November and can’t fulfil demand for the holidays.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a minor new iPad bump today, but I’d be surprised if that signalled a change in Apple’s overall scheduling strategy.