If you watched today’s Apple event, you may have noticed something missing: Not one person mentioned the iPad.
This was disappointing to many Apple fans, particularly since we had plenty of rumors and leaks stating that the iPad was getting some interesting upgrades, notably a USB Type-C connection for the iPad Pro, which would have been a huge, game-changing upgrade.
At the least, iPad users may have expected an updated screen, a better processor, or other design updates that could keep interest high (and maybe lower the prices of older models). But Apple didn’t have a peep to say about the iPad, which probably means we won’t see any new iPads until next year. After the disappointment, the first question is why?
The most obvious possibility is that the new iPads just weren’t ready yet. And it makes even more sense if some of the rumors that we’ve heard are true. If Apple really is switching to a USB Type-C port, for example, then at least the iPad Pro is going to need a major internal redesign, which could push its release date back.
Remember, while Apple does have some experience with USB-C in MacBooks, we don’t know how easy it would be to fit that hardware into an iPad, where space is even more confined and positioning could be an issue.
Remember, Apple doesn’t just have to solve these design issues internally, it also has to make sure that all of its manufacturing partners understand the new design, have access to updated materials, and can produce successful prototypes on the way to a production deadline.
Any problems with this process, and production goals get pushed back, which could have happened here.
Another important consideration is cost and return on investment, at least from Apple’s perspective.
Think about the new technology they’ve been worked on for the latest iPhones. The advanced OLED display, the “surgical” stainless steel, and the more advanced chips and cameras that reach new heights. Bring those new specs to the iPads – especially the particularly luxurious Retina OLED screens – is no doubt a very expensive endeavor, and one that may not be worth it. If the new iPads suddenly jump in price to $1,500 or more, how many buyers would Apple lose as a result? Maybe too many.
So, what’s left to upgrade on the iPad? Well, we had some ideas, but if Apple isn’t working on any of those things (or if the work isn’t already done), then there isn’t much of a point in creating and releasing a new iPad generation quite yet.
As a result, Apple is moving that particular announcement down the road, probably until 2019.
An October announcement is certainly possible, but unlikely at this stage given Apple’s past behavior. We will, of course, keep you updated.