While Apple fanboys round the world have been whetting their appetites for the last weeks on iPad 2 rumours, John Gruber of Daring Fireball drops the… well, fireball I guess. iPad 3, out next fall.
Yes, it’s true that the rumored iPad 2, a mere slimmer version of the iPad, with a front facing camera, is not really that big a change. No better screen, for example.
But still, to come up a new version within six months of the previous one coming out is a risky strategy indeed.
If the rumor is true, Apple is going to drop the price of the first gen iPad only a little when the version 2 comes out and expects most people who want an iPad will buy the 2.
But the device’s shelf life will be very short, since the same transition will take place again after six months. By that time, the first gen iPads will be quickly disappearing from retail.
This is what we’ve seen happen with the iPhone, but the cycle was three or four years. This would all happen within about 16 months.
The tablet market is growing rapidly, with 2011 already dubbed as the Year of the Tablet. Apple wants to be there every step of the way, gearing their design and production lines to even faster innovation and change. That is likely to be the case, even if this rumor isn’t true.
EDIT: As said in the comments, Gruber was likely just guessing. But then again, his guesses are often good. And this one isn’t anymore just a guess, but officially a rumor. Welcome to the wacky world of Apple rumors.