updated 12:45 pm EDT, Wed September 28, 2011
Jefferies analyst claims iPAd 3 intro accelerated
Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek raised curiosity Wednesday with a research note claiming an accelerated iPad 3 launch. Although he didn't name sources, he claimed the iPad 3 would have a "sooner-than-expected" launch in late January. Apple has only had two iPad launches so far but timed each for early spring.
He also claimed that an "iPad 2 HD" had been cancelled, with one million units retooled for the existing version. Such a device had been rumored but has never been supported by more concrete leaks.
The iPad 3 claim is very uncertain and, if true, might still only reflect when production starts, not necessarily the release. Its plans have been given some minor support from recent rumors of iPad 3 part production starting as much as half a year before it might otherwise go on sale. TSMC is thought to be making test runs of the A6 the iPad would need but might not start production until early 2012, or too late to build up stock for January.
Apple if it pursues the route at all may be responding to a behavior it can identify in rival tablet designers. While most tablets shown at CES and Mobile World Congress in the first two months of the year didn't reach stores until the spring, Motorola's Xoom arrived in late February and briefly drew attention. A late January iPad 3 would prevent a repeat from Motorola and would give Apple a first mover advantage.
Apart from the quad-core A6, the iPad 3 is so far rumored only to center on a more Retina Display-like 2048x1536 LCD that would provide a major lift to reading, whether in apps, the iBookstore, or the web.
Misek, basing his forecasts on these beliefs as well as a production shift to Brazil, saw Apple lowering its total iPad shipments to a still high 29 million in the second half of 2011. A new iPhone, however, would kick shipments up by three million more to 28.7 million in the fall alone, possibly keeping Apple ahead of Samsung in sheer smartphone numbers.