For starters, the current iPad is selling too briskly. Analysts already expect Apple to sell 7 million iPads by year end. Traditionally, Apple lets its current product supplies dwindle on the shelves four to eight weeks before the next iteration is available. If you work backwards from December, Apple would have to miss a good chunk of the crucial October/November holiday shopping season to get a new iPad on the shelves in 2010.
Speaking of production, Apple is just getting to the point where it can meet the current iPad demand. It finally shifted the online shipping turnaround time to 24 hours. Ironically, a new iPad would throw a wrench in the iPad sales: Apple's manufacturers would be divided between two different models and consumers would be more hesitant to purchase the current model after a new one is announced. (A lesson learned by Nintendo (NYTDO) when it announced a new 3D handheld a couple weeks before its new, previous generation 2D handheld was released. Lackluster sales followed.)
There are definitely lots of tablet-related press releases going out, but the iPad competition isn't here yet - and won't be a threat this holiday season:
- Microsoft (MSFT) Courier: Delayed in 2012
- Kno tablet: Bulky dual-screen design, niche college-age audience, more expensive than iPad
- HP tablet: Windows-based tablet killed during Palm acquisition, expected to be rebooted in 2011 with Palm OS.
Finally, Apple would give its 4 million or so iPad customers little to know reason to purchase a new one. According to Devin Coldewey at CrunchGear, the recent rumors are spurred by Apple wanting FaceTime on as many devices as possible. Is a built-in camera enough incentive for consumers to spend another $500 on an iPad? Very doubtful. Ditto on a retina display, which, because of the large screen, is something that isn't as necessary on the iPad. Most notably, as Jobs said at this month's Apple Fall Keynote, iPad multitasking, the Apple online community GameCenter and other updates were coming this fall. Apple wouldn't be cramming all these into an iOS update if it could make them only available on a new iPad.
Apple rarely releases products outside of its annual cycle and the iPad just hit stores in April. Expecting another iPad in 2010 is just wishful thinking.
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