Rumors surfaced recently suggesting that Apple has delayed its iPad 2 for a release date in June, a couple of months later than the initial April release date that many expected the company to follow.
The reason for the delay has not been nailed down in the rumor mill, but there are those who believe that the company will in fact delay the iPad 2. Other Apple watchers say that such claims are nonsense and Apple will deliver the tablet as expected in April.
Either way, there could be several reasons Apple might want to delay the tablet. They range from the possibility of the company being fearful of what the competition has to offer to simply wanting to wait for the others to tip their hand, allowing Apple to once again look like the company that really understands what customers are after.
1. It’s scared
If Apple does in fact delay the iPad 2, it could mean that the company is worried. The tablet that it was planning to release might not cut it after Apple saw competing devices. The delay gives it time to figure out how to revise the iPad 2 to compete against products like the Motorola Xoom, which seems to have quite a bit of promise. It might not sound very Apple-like, but it’s possible that it could be quite fearful about delivering a device that can’t compete with others.
2. It’s thinking about a larger display
Part of the appeal of Apple’s iPad has been its large, 9.7-inch display. It offers users the ability to be more productive while using the platform. It makes competing devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and its 7-inch screen, look obsolete. But now, several products, including the Motorola Xoom, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak 10, among others, will have larger displays than the iPad. Given how important screen size has been to Apple over the past year, maybe a delay indicates that it’s thinking seriously about upping the screen size to 10.1 inches (if not more).
3. It was an incremental upgrade
Apple might delay the iPad 2 if it represents an incremental upgrade over the previous version of the platform. Admittedly, the iPad is a fine product in its own right. But newer tablets are showing off features-including a better operating system in Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” and WebOS along with dual cameras-that make the iPad seem so last year. An incremental update might cause the iPad to get lost in the shuffle of more revolutionary upgrades from other companies. And Apple is not a company that likes to get lost in the shuffle.
4. The connectivity consideration
When the Motorola Xoom launches later this week, the device will come with the ability for users to connect to the Web via 3G wireless connections. However, within the next few months, the device will be upgraded, allowing users to access Verizon’s 4G network, as well. TheXoom is expected to be one of many devices to support 4G this year. If Apple doesn’t have a 4G option ready to go, rest assured that the company’s possible delay could have something to do with that.
In the End Apple Will Do What It Pleases
5. It could be holding off for iOS 5
Currently, there’s no word on when Apple will release iOS 5, the follow-up to its highly touted iOS 4 operating system. But considering Apple’s recent history, it’s quite possible that the software will be made available in the iPhone 5, which is expected to be released over the summer. Considering Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” is such a huge step up over Android 2.2 “Froyo” and it will be running on most Android-based tablets this year, it’s quite possible that Apple is holding off on releasing the iPad 2 until it has an operating system ready that can compete on the same level as “Honeycomb.” Right now, iOS 4 just doesn’t cut it, especially when one considers that “Honeycomb” delivers a full browsing experience and 3D effects.
6. It waited to see what the competition would offer
Of course,if Apple decides to delay the iPad 2, it might have little to do with issues with its platform and more to do with wanting to see what it should be offering in its tablet. For years, Apple has released products that offer many, but not all of the features customers desire. That strategy keeps consumers coming back for more every year. Apple is likely waiting to do the same thing with the iPad 2. But it also realizes that it needs to offer some features that the competition is offering. So what better way to strike that balance than by waiting a bit for the competition to tip its hand?
7. Management issues, perhaps?
There’s no telling if Apple has actually delayed the iPad 2. And one won’t be able to get a clear answer out of the company if it has. But it’s possible that if Apple did delay its tablet, there could be some mixed opinions at the management level. Currently, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is on a leave of absence from Apple and his COO Tim Cook is running the company. Realizing that, there’s no telling what Apple’s future will look like. Will Jobs come back? Will he retire? Apple isn’t saying. But one can safely assume that there is some kind of succession plan in place at the company. If there is some turmoil at the top because of that, it’s not a stretch to think that differing opinions are causing a delay in the iPad’s launch. The device is simply too important to Apple’s bottom line for it to not garner some different ideas on what the device should offer this year.
8. It isn’t all that concerned
Apple has not been a company to worry over the past several years. Time and again, it has done what it wanted, when it wanted to do it. If that meant delaying a release, then so be it. Thus, it could be quite possible that Apple isn’t concerned at all about the competition. It may have simply decided that it wants to wait a bit to release the product.Nothing could be wrong with the iPad 2; Apple may have simply decided to change its plans, nothing more than that.
9. Researchers have changed Apple’s mind
One of the key aspects of a product’s success or failure is market testing. Consultants go out into the wild and find out whether customers would want to use a specific product. They also help a company determine what the best time to release a device is. It’s quite possible that Apple’s market checks revealed that the timing isn’t right for an April launch. Pushing it back to the summer might actually be a better idea.
10. It’s right on track
All this talk of delays seems to forget one important point about Apple that can’t be overlooked: The company hasn’t even confirmed that it will be launching the iPad 2. That secrecy has given it the luxury of deciding on its own when it should launch the tablet. So, while it could have very well planned to release the iPad 2 in April, there’s no way to know. If Steve Jobs appears tomorrow and announces that the iPad 2 will launch in the summer, there’s no way of knowing whether or not Apple planned that release date all along. It’s an ingenious move on Apple’s part. It gives the company the luxury of determining on its own when it should release the iPad 2 without fielding questions about possible delays.