Apple will retire the iPad 2 early this year and replace it with the iPad 4 according to a new report from a well-connected analyst who also claims Apple is planning an iPad 6 or iPad Air 2 release for the fall with some rumored iPhone 6 features.
Apple currently sells four iPad models in the Apple Store, but one of these models is not like the others. The iPad 2 uses an older 30-pin connection and is likely on the last legs of software support. It is also one of two devices in Apple’s flagship mobile device lineup that does not feature a Retina Display.
A new report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, published on 9to5Mac claims Apple plans to cut the iPad 2 in the near future and bring the iPad 4 back. Kuo also claims Apple is planning an iPad 6 or iPad Air 2 for the fall with features we also expect in an iPhone 6. Also of Interest, Kuo claims an iPad mini 3 might not arrive in 2014 and the rumored iPad Pro with a 13-inch display ins’t likely until 2015.
That is a lot of information about Apple’s new iPad plans for 2014. Kuo is a reliable source for Apple information with a good track record and this report lines up with previous leaks, a statement from Apple hinting at a possible announcement at the end of Q1 and makes sense based on timing. Let’s take a closer look at this report of what Apple will do with the iPad line in 2014.
iPad 4 Replaces iPad 2
Apple sells the iPad 2 for $399 in the Apple Store and it is popular among education users, business owners and parents who can also find it on eBay for $200 to $250, but it is quite old as far as technology goes. Kuo predicts Apple will stop selling the iPad 2 in Q1 2014 (by the end of March)
Here are three reasons this makes sense
- No Retina Display
- No Lightning Connection
- Old Processor
Apple likes to boast that the iPad and iPhone users are on the latest software, but it seems unlikely that the iPad 2 would be ready for running another new operating system in 2014. That said Apple will likely continue selling the iPad mini for $299 that also runs an Apple A5 processor, so an iOS 8 update with few animations and stripped features isn’t out of the question for the iPad 2.
This report lines up with an Apple Insider report from last week which suggests Apple is ready to let the iPad 2 go in part due to consumer preference for the higher resolution iPad Air. Horace Dediu of ASYMCO shares data showing the average price paid for an iPad in 2013 started to trend back up towards the end of the year.
Kou also states that Apple is prepared to bring back the iPad 4 in Q1 2014. The report does not specifically mention it replacing the iPad 2, but the timing makes sense and the iPad 4 is still a very capable device with a Retina Display, Lightning connector and Apple A6X processor which would put it more in line with the current lineup than the iPad 2.
During the Apple Earnings Call in January Apple told investors the iPod sales will likely continue to decline in the “March quarter.” This statement by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer suggests Apple could be planning an iPod touch 6th generation announcement near the end of that quarter, which is also right at the end of the calendar Q1. It is also possible Oppenheimer simply did not want to comment out further on the iPod product line, so this is far from certain.
However, if Apple did announce a new iPod touch in the Spring it would be a good time to share smaller product updates like the iPad 4 replacing the iPad 2 and small updates to notebook lines. Apple is reportedly planning a plethora of new products for 2014, and the company may want to bring some new items to market before summer or fall.
iPad 6 aka iPad Air 2 Details Emerge
An iPad Air 2, which is actually the iPad 6, could come this fall as Kuo suggests a late Q3 release date. That would put the iPad 6 in line with a release in time for the holidays and close to one of the suggested iPhone 6 release windows.
Kuo believes the iPad 6 will come with a new processor and with Touch ID. Given the rumors of an iPhone 6 with an Apple A8 processor it would make sense to see Apple include an A8 processor in a new iPad Air.
If Kuo is correct this would place an iPad Air 2 release in August or September, ahead of the more recent holiday timed launches. This could push an iPad release up close to the rumored iPhone 6 release in September or fall.
iPad mini 3 and iPad Pro in 2015
The iPad mini 3, or whatever Apple may call a new iPad mini may not come in 2014. Kuo rates the iPad mini 3 release in 2014 as, “slim” thanks in part to consumer interest in the iPad Air. The iPad mini Retina that arrived last year is still a nice device, but it would be surprising to see Apple leave this device behind unless there is a plan to separate the iPad release cycles and push one back to Spring.
The iPad Pro or 13-inch iPad that is a continual subject of rumors is not likely this year, but Kuo claims Apple is working on a larger iPad with a 12.9-inch display. From 9to5Mac’s report of Kuo’s note, it appears Apple may not be ready with software to take advantage of the larger screen as teams are focused on the iWatch.