Despite the fact that Apple sent out official invites for its iPad 2 unveiling next Wednesday, the rumors questioning what Apple has planned continue to roll in.
iLounge has an exceptionally strong record when it comes to Apple rumors and they’re reporting that the planned media event may be geared towards an iPad 1.5 release as opposed to a full-fledged iPad 2.
Two reliable sources are suggesting that next week’s “iPad 2” event has some serious cliffhanger potential – as in, consumers may not see the real “iPad 2” for some time. There’s apparently some truth to the reports of production problems with the new model, and as a result, no one is really sure at this point what Apple is going to be shipping as the “iPad 2,” or when.
This report, of course, jives with the theory laid down by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber who postulated that Apple may release two separate iPad models in a 6-month span; a modest upgrade this Spring followed by a more significant upgrade this Fall to coincide with Apple’s iPod refresh cycle.
Assuming that iLounge and Gruber are accurate, the iPad 1.5 will sport decent upgrades such as the addition of a camera and other minor tweaks – which of course begs the question – what tricks does Apple have planned for a major iPad refresh?
In any event, iLounge’s source notes that a true iPad 2 refresh may not hit stores until June.
In any case, our sources aren’t sure whether Apple is going to release the iPad 1.5 now and call it the iPad 2, hold off a few months and release something dramatically better, or hold off a few months and release the iPad 1.5. The sources strongly believe that Apple cannot possibly ship enough truly “new” iPads to meet a late March or early April release date. One expects that Apple will only preview the next iPad at next week’s event, then release it widely around June. A price drop for the current model would keep sales flowing until then.
Hmm, on one hand we have to acknowledge iLounge’s solid track record, but on the other, and iLounge itself concedes this, these reports seem awfully sketchy. Not only does Apple have a strong track record of releasing product refreshes on schedule – the iPod Touch 3rd gen being the obvious exception – but why would Apple go to the trouble of holding a media event to merely announce the impending release of an iPad 1.5ish device and show off an iPad 2 scheduled for release later in the year? In such a scenario, wouldn’t folks hold off a few months for the iPad 2 and ignore the mid-level upgrade? Is Apple concerned enough with the rise of Android tablets that it just wants to get something out there as a stop-gap measure?