Too soon for a 4th generation iPad? Maybe not

Apple cut its new-product cycle almost in half with the newest version on the iPad, but there is a reason.

Apple has announced the release of a “fourth generation” model of the iPad, available for pre-order on Oct. 26 and arriving in the Apple Stores on Nov. 2. Yes, you read that correctly.

Are they serious? Each of the last two new iPad models came out a whole year after its predecessor, like clockwork. And now this new one is coming out just seven months after the third generation iPad. What could possibly have motivated Apple to cut the lifecycle of its product by nearly half? Well, for one, the company apparently made improvements in the A6X processor that resides in the third-generation model. But that probably could have waited out the year.

The answer is the connector. When Apple made the iPhone 5, the engineers redesigned the connector. They called the new connector Lightning, and it actually does have decent throughput improvements. But it isn’t compatible with older versions, which meant that new iPhone owners were running around with a connector that didn’t work with their older, 30-pin-port iPad. So, in the interest of connector standardization, Apple put out the next iPad five months early.

Of course, the early boost in revenue doesn’t hurt, I’m sure. And, because they’ve done away with version numbers for the iPad, whenever a new version is launched, the company erases all mention of the earlier model from its website. For instance, according to Apple, the new iPad always had a Lightning connector. Go ahead and see for yourself.  

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