Apple is unlikely to release an iPad 3 in 2011, according to a new DigiTimes report.
If accurate, that would shoot down rumors from earlier this year that Apple intends to follow up the March launch of the iPad 2 with another tablet before the holidays. Although an "iPad 3" launch before the end of the year would represent a severe deviation from the company's usual roadmap, and its annual product refreshes, those rumors nonetheless proved highly tenacious.
Now comes the April 12 report in DigiTimes, citing unnamed "upstream component makers," that no iPad 3 is coming in the near-term, and that Apple is still deciding on possible panels for future tablets. Apparently, that planning remains in the initial stages, making any products "unlikely" to make a showing in 2011.
"The sources pointed out that they have not yet received any notice for next-generation iPad products and do not believe iPad 2 is a transitional product," reads the report. "With iPad 2's strong shipment order forecast from Apple, the sources believe iPad 3 will not appear in the short term."
In a Feb. 9 posting on his "Daring Fireball" blog, John Gruber posted a "theory" concerning the iPad's release roadmap. Discussing the summer launch of Hewlett-Packard's upcoming TouchPad tablet, he wrote: "Summer feels like a long time away. If my theory is right, they're not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3."
Later that day, Gruber clarified his pronouncement: "How could Apple release a third-generation iPad just six months or so after the second one?" he wrote. "Maybe it won't be an actual next-generation model. Maybe it's more like an iPad 2.5, or iPad 2 Pro."
Theory or not, other publications promptly leapt on Gruber's postings like a defensive lineman on a loose football. By the morning of Feb. 10, the Washington Post's headline-"iPad 3 to have Fall 2011 launch? Some say it makes sense"-was front-and-center on Google News.
The iPad 3 theories contribute to what's already a media-fueled furnace of speculation over everything iPad-related. Apple's lack of official word on its upcoming products has a habit of driving analysts and bloggers into a frenzy. In the months ahead of each iPad's successive unveiling, the blogosphere buzzes with "news" and rumors of possible features and form-factors.
Although a widely circulated source of Apple news, DigiTimes' own predictions sometimes fail to pan out. For example, a Jan. 20 story suggested that the iPad 2 would boast 2,048-by-1,536 resolution, which in turn would play into Apple's larger plans for its ecosystem. "The larger resolution should provide the company's app developers more convenience," it read, "while all future applications will be able to run under any of Apple's machines including the 27-inch iMac."
The iPad 2's actual 1,024-by-768 resolution undermined that prediction, although analysts such as IDC research manager Tom Mainelli subsequently suggested that Apple's higher definition "Retina Display" screen could make an appearance in a future iPad, which itself might not make an appearance until 2012.