Yet more potential evidence that Apple is serious about picking up its pace. Amid rumors of the release of the iPhone 5S, which some sources say are already in the production phase, speculation is growing that Apple is working on yet another new 9.7-inch iPad model (5th generation), set to be announced during March 2013.
According to Macotakara, the blog where the above rumor originated, the new iPad will be much thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and will apparently sport a similar design to the recently released iPad mini. In terms of the exact measurements, the product is said to be approximately 4mm shorter and 17mm slimmer, and will have around 2mm less depth.
This is not the first “new iPad” rumor to have sprung up recently. A week ago, there’d been speculations suggesting how the 5th iPad will feature less LED lighting bars, and how it may see a release at sometime around the mid-2013 mark. What seems to be certain, at this point, is that Apple CEO Tim Cook–whose main background is in product and supply chain management– is no longer finding it practical to follow the release schedule originally favored by Steve Jobs. In the years to come, the Cupertino company’s strategy may revolve less around using innovation to sustain its market position, and more around keeping up with the likes of Google, Amazon, and Samsung in terms of releasing products on a regular basis.
Which brings us to an important question regarding consumer expectations. Quicker production cycles, on the one hand, mean people will be seeing more iPads, iPhones, and iPad minis a year, a good thing if what consumers want are more varied options to choose from. Unfortunately, tightened schedules also potentially make innovation more limited, restrict product variety, and give rise to more picky consumers.
What various consumers will be looking forward to next year is seeing whether Apple will in fact differentiate the new iPad from its predecessors. The fourth generation iPad is arguably still the best tablet device on the market, although other than featuring a more potent chip and utilizing a thunder connector, it looks virtually identical its previous two iterations.