Apple is planning a media event next week, according to a new rumor from MacNotes.de, and if the site’s unnamed sources are correct, the company will unveil the next iteration of the iPad as part of the event. The biggest problem with the rumor, however, is the source, which is being named as people within the accessories industry, not a source within Apple, or even within Apple’s OEM chain.
The media event the German site is saying will be held next week will be based around iOS 4.3 and the ability for iOS app developers to leverage subscriptions in their apps. Our friends at AppleInsider noted that when The Daily was announced on Wednesday, February 2nd, Apple VP Eddy Cue demurred when asked about other companies being able to use subscriptions, adding that Apple would have more to say on the subject in the near future.
In that line of reasoning, an iOS 4.3 media event could be that “near future,” and MacNotes.de’s further reasoning is that the iPad 2 would be part of that event, and possibly the “One more thing…” part of the festivities.
Which brings us back to the source for the rumor: Apple is not known for giving even the biggest accessories vendors early access to anything. The more people know a secret, the harder it is to keep, and no company has taken this philosophy to the extremes that Apple has. How these sources have come by their knowledge is not explained, and it would be wise to have a few extra grains of salt lying around to take as needed when considering this rumor.
At the same time, however, we should acknowledge that Apple did announce the original iPad during a special media event held in January of 2010, three months before it shipped. Many have expected Apple to follow suit with its successor, but we have a counter-counter point to this line of reasoning, too.
With the original iPad, Apple was creating an entirely new market. The company needed developers to hit the ground running with apps, and more importantly, Apple wanted the world to have time to figure out what it might do with this new device.
It may seem obvious in retrospect, but we remember clearly the enormous amounts of speculation on whether the iPad would be successful and why anyone would want, let alone need, such a device - hadn’t Microsoft already failed with its tablet offerings that began in 2000?
Apple needed time for people to digest the concept of the iPad, and even the name of the device, before it was released, and thus the company announced it three months prior to its release. Apple did the same thing with the original iPhone, announcing it more than five months ahead of its release.
There’s a difference, however, between the first iPhone and its successors, as well as the first iPad and its own descendants: Apple didn’t have an existing market to protect with either 1st generation device — once the iPhone was announced and shipping, Apple resorted to its usual hush-hush tactics of announcing new iPhone models when they were ready or near-ready to ship.
It seems to us that this line of analysis applies far more readily to iPad 2 than the idea that accessory makers somehow know that Apple is planning to announce the device next week.