Originally Posted by cloudgazer
Ok, I agree that it would be remarkable for Apple to launch a 3rd model so soon, but it's not outside the realms of the posslble.
a) Apple needs to ramp up production of tablets amazingly fast to deny Android any space in the market. That means that Apple needs to build completely new production facilities and get additional component supply. That provides an opportunity to build a model update.
b) By moving very fast at this early stage Apple can leave other tablet makers looking ridiculous and inflict lasting damage on their brands.
c) This kind of 'shock and awe' release schedule will push other tablet makers teams to breaking point. They're already working flat out trying to get a tablet product up and running, and the result is generally shoddy products. How much worse is the pressure if you know you're aiming for a fast moving target?
I'm not sure it's actually possible for Apple to launch an iPad-3 at this point, but if it is then there are good reasons for them to do so.
You make some good points and they're very similar to what I've been thinking lately.
1) Anyone and everyone calling "bull" on this rumor are simply not paying attention to the market. Stop blinding yourselves with Apple keynote slogans and "tradition". If anything, people should be more
inclined to believe such a rumor with Apple already breaking a 4 year tradition of having a new iPhone ready-for-market in the June/July timeframe.
2. Competition. While Apple is dominating the tablet space, that is not a given for this holiday season. Even though I feel the iPad 2 is above and beyond all possible alternatives, that doesn't mean every paying customer will think the same way. Last year, Apple had ZERO competition leading into the holiday quarter. This year is not the same story. Even though the competition is garbage, and almost identically priced, there are
iPad alternatives leading into Q4 of 2011. If you haven't noticed, the Xoom and the Galaxy tab are being heavily advertised (much more than iPad), and the ads are not half bad (meaning they are utterly misleading about the product's abilities, enough to convince you that its as good as the iPad).
3. Availability. As far as I know, you still can't get an iPad 2. Now, that is a bit of a snarky statement, as you certainly can get one...if you order online and wait...or if you call around to every store within 5 hours of you, and beat out the others vying for the same inventory unit. When you can walk into any Apple store and just "buy one", then I consider the product "available". This unavailability to the general shopper is likely to drive up sales of craplets, unless Apple can get its inventory situation under control by September.
4. Apple is undoubtedly ramping up production of iPad 2 to be ready for this holiday season, but they may very well be preparing to introduce an addition to the iPad lineup. A new iPad, perhaps called iPad 3, but with a higher resolution display, better cameras, etc. etc. If this new iPad is being sourced from new suppliers and being built by different factories it might solve both of Apple's tablet concerns going into Q4...squash any potential competition, spark the "new" factor again, and patch inventory holes.