28 January 20139to5Mac:
Here is what we do know:
- It is a fourth-generation iPad, not a new design.
- It comes in both the current black and white color options.
- It comes in both WiFi-only and WiFi + Cellular versions.
- It is a more premium SKU that will join the current line of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB fourth-generation iPads.
- 10-pack deals (in both colors) for educational institutions will be offered.
This isn’t unprecedented in iOS-device-release-schedule history, but it is definitely an outlier. It makes sense to be a 128GB model1; what I am wondering is regards to timing. Why now?
Although it has been discussed as a wanted feature, it doesn’t feel like there is pent-up demand for it. The people who would be interested in an iPad with a price around $800 are also those who are most savvy to not buy mid-cycle and wait it out for the next iteration of the tablet.
My only hypothesis, or which I have a sliver of confidence in actually happening, is that a price drop is incoming for the iPad line. I would guess that the base $499 iPad would be fitted with 32 GB of storage rather than 16 GB, with the 64 GB and new 128 GB models priced at additional $100 dollar increments.2
1 What else can give the SKU the “ULTIMATE” (which translates to better than “BEST” in the terminology of Apple stock inventory) designation, whilst maintaining the same physical design?
2 This idea sounds ludicrous, but the way Apple handles the iPod touch lineup justifies the theory in my mind enough to make it worth publishing. Even so, I stress this isn’t likely.