There have been numerous reports that say the iPad 3 is coming in Sept., but now FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger is taking a different tact that says a new tablet is indeed coming from Apple in the fall, but it isn’t exactly a third iteration of the iPad line. “There are some indications from the supply chain that Apple may look to introduce an ‘iPad 2 Plus’ device as they put out request for quotes from various component suppliers for this marginally different device,” Mr. Berger wrote in a note to investors yesterday. Apparently he has heard reports from suppliers in Asia that Apple has put in RFQs (Request for Quotes) for a new screen that would up the iPad 2 from its current 132 pixels per inch (ppi) to 250-300 ppi, but that is the only known change to the device.
Before you go and jump in line at the Apple Store, however, Mr. Berger did have a caveat: “While we find this new commentary interesting, we await more confirming data points from other supply chain contacts before fully believing a new iPad device is coming in 2011.”
While the prevailing belief has been that all of the talk of a new tablet from Apple in the fall was related to the iPad 3, it has never made much sense to me. Releasing an entirely new iPad five to six months after the previous one would raise the ire of consumers in a heartbeat. Even upgrading the screen that soon could end up bringing a lot of negativity Apple’s way, and as we all know, Apple CEO Steve Jobs likes his customers calm. Well, at least not beating down his door carrying pitchforks and torches.
There is also the fact that Apple is not known for putting all of its eggs in one basket, and it likes to spread out its releases. With the iPhone 5 looking to be a lock for the fall, and Sept. being the traditional release of new the new iPod line, adding a new release of the iPad would just put more of the company’s products into one quarter than they have traditionally shown they want to do.
One also has to take into account that this information is coming from an analyst, and you almost always have to remember to take a large dose of salt with everything they say. Typically they are just trying to put pieces of information together to come up with a prediction of what might come to pass, and while they may have a little bit more access to the sources than most, they are still playing a guessing game.
For now, file this firmly in the “rumor” folder, but it is something to keep your eye on.
What do you think? Could Apple be preparing a very minor upgrade to the iPad 2 for the fall?