Originally Posted by Tallest Skil
Ah, the one in April at the earliest, you mean. Because why would Apple release an iDevice on a less-than-yearly cycle?
There are lots of good reasons to adjust the cycle. For one it could effectively keep them well ahead of the competition. An early iPad 2 would also allow the device to support other initiatives (Facetime for one). Further it is Apples habit to release new stuff in the spring and then latter adjust the release cycles, release dates have to jive with marketing plans.
iPad: April every year.
iPhone: June every year.
iPods: September every year.
None of this is written in stone. As to iPad it is a consummer device and it would make sense to have new product ready for the consummer buying season which by chance starts in a couple of weeks.
Besides I see April as a terrible time to release anything consummer oriented. Mainly because of April 15th. But there is also the interaction of vacation recovery and spring buying. In the end new releases around this time risk not being noticed as people are focused on other things.
Marketing is never simple! For example Apple has been lucky with its one iPhone design approach. If the competition ever catches up software wise that will be a problem.
Besides Apple can be very agressive with new hardware release when they think that they have to be. As an early 2008 MBP owner I can atest to that fact. So it would not be out of character one bit for Apple to overhaul the iPad design early. It comes down to is the technology ready, and how badly they want to support other initiatives. Anybody with any sense should be able to see that Facetime is coming to iPad and thus it has to be impacting sales. In fact I find it odd that Factime was even released without a bump to the iPad to support it.
There are a lot of factors to consider from production capacity to demand for the current product. It is interesting that right now it appears that production has caught up with demand, so is that a sign of increased production or a roll off in sales. It would be bad for Apple and iPad if iPad tanked with respect to holiday sales because everybody was waiting for Facetime support. All I'm saying is that it isn't always easy to stick to familiar cycles.
Beyound all of that if Apple remains unpredictable it seriously screws up the competition. Apple caught everybody off guard with iPads intitial success, causing many plans to be scraped or refactored. Being flexible with release dates and carefully concealing new features makes it difficult for the competition to gain any initiative.
It really isn't as simple as many would like to believe. Apple has the market now but this is different than the iPod days. With iPod nobody cared that they had the market all to themselves. However iPad is seen as a direct threat by many companies, they will fight a lot harder to take market share. This mainly to prevent long term damage to their core businesses. Apple has the potential to take serious money from the likes of HP, Dell, Acer and others. It isn't just iPad, Apple now covers most peoples mobile needs in one way or another. In progression you have Touch, iPhone, iPad, AIR, Mac Books and Mac Book Pros. Or to look at it another way Apple is packing significant heat against the competition. The acceptance of their line up is really snowballing and that is making a few executives nervous.