Third Generation iPad Already Retired, WHAT?!

iPad 3Earlier this year, on March 7, I sat at my computer, frantically pushing refresh until I could access the Apple Store and place my order for Apple’s newly announced third generation iPad, complete with Retina screen.

My order went through successfully, and just over a week later, I had my hands on Apple’s gorgeous, thin white tablet. The screen took my breath away, and I certainly wasn’t the only one enthralled with the new tablet. Apple, in fact, sold over a million third generation iPads in just over a day.

Shipping times jumped from mere days to weeks and weeks. Apple’s new Retina tablet was so popular that it was impossible to get if you didn’t preorder early, and now, just seven months later, that tablet that I shelled out $599 to purchase has been discontinued by Apple.

That’s right, the third generation iPad is no longer being produced. It has, instead, been shelved for the fourth generation iPad, which will replace it. Logically, you would expect Apple to retire the iPad 2 while keeping the iPad 3 and the iPad 4, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, Apple’s new tablet lineup consists of the iPad 2, the iPad mini, and the iPad, which is now the fourth generation iPad. There is no more third generation iPad, which is shocking, because it was only on the market for a short time.

Apple has already removed it from the Apple Store, and put its remaining units in the Refurbished section, priced at $379 for a 16GB tablet. A good deal, but it kills resell prices for those of us who were hoping to trade in our tablets.

The chance that these are actually refurbished iPads is a slim one, and this is likely leftover “new” stock that was moved to this section in an effort not to anger customers who recently paid at least $50 over the discounted price. Crummy move by Apple, to say the least.

Not only has the third generation iPad been discontinued, the fourth generation iPad is a significant upgrade. We’re not talking minor changes here – the new iPad comes equipped with the A6X processor chip that we expected the third generation iPad to have, and it offers twice the performance and twice the graphics power as the “old” iPad 3.

The new iPad also features an updated front-facing camera to allow for HD FaceTime, and an improved Wi-Fi connection allows for speeds up to twice as fast as the Wi-Fi in the current iPad. You’ll also find the Lightning dock in the new iPad, rendering your 30-pin iPad accessories useless.

While there’s no doubt that Apple will continue to support the third generation for some time to come, it’s still a blow to Apple fans who are eager to have the latest and greatest devices. The news that Apple has released an updated tablet just months after millions purchased the third generation iPad is bound to anger many Apple loyalists.

Apple may support the tablet, but it’s going to fall out of favor about six months ahead of schedule now that it’s been discontinued. Developers will begin creating games for the faster processor of the fourth generation iPad, and the third generation iPad will be outdated that much faster.

The fourth generation iPad, arguably, is the iPad that should have been released in March. Unfortunately, the components weren’t ready, which is why we’ve been given this incremental increase. Does this mean that Apple will now update its products in October instead of March? Or does it mean we’ve switched to a 6 month refresh timeline?

Personally, I’m afraid to purchase the fourth generation iPad because there’s no indication that it won’t just be upgraded again when March rolls around. I’ve been committed to a new iPad once a year since it debuted in 2010, but twice a year is a bit much to ask.

While I love new Apple releases, I can’t help but be disappointed with today’s announcement. I’m all for the iPad mini, but it was much too soon to see an upgraded iPad. It’ll be worse for anyone who purchased the third generation iPad more recently.

If you did buy your iPad within the last 30 days, you’re still able to return it. According to the manager at one Apple Store, Apple is extending its 14-day return policy to 30 days when it comes to the new iPad.

What do you think of the fourth generation iPad? Will you be upgrading, or sticking with your original tablet? Are you angry with Apple?

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • Henry Chilcott

    I’m quite pissed with Apple. I just got the 3rd gen LTE 64GB iPad 35 days ago, passed the return window. Now it’s value has significantly dropped.

    • Brandenlee

      Did it stop working?

    • HunchbackJack

      If you wanted to sell it, sure. Were you planning to?

      Or were you planning to use it for a few years? If so, its value is *exactly the same* – it does everything just as well as it did before the announcement. Everything you were excited about, everything were impressed with, everything you enjoyed about using it, it still all right there.

      It’s completely natural that you feel disappointed. If only you had known, you would have waited for the iPad 4. But you couldn’t have known, and you still have the excellent product you bought. What have you lost?

      Feeling disappointed is natural, but irrational. Feeling angry at Apple is just childish pettiness.


  • JCW

    I, too, am very upset with apple. I purchased the 3rd gen LTE 64 GB 7 weeks ago and they say that I cannot return it either. Hopefully, if we communicate clearly and loudly enough, they will hear us and respond.

  • Jesse Diaz

    Yep…I cant help but to feel upset and cheated…..I too, for the first time, wont be buying the newest iPad……to come out with an ipad thats twice as fast as the pevious model that just came out 6 months ago is crazy……I committed 1 ipad a year in my bidget…theres no way I can buy two and even if I wanted to, Im afraid becuase its not crazy to think that the ipad 5 is just around the corner ( 6 months to be exact! )

  • robin budd

    I was quite upset when after going to make a once in a lifetime purchase with a small inheritance my mum left me of an ipad2 and when I asked if there would be any updated versions released in near future was told no,and then ipad 3 came out 2 months later. But on reflection,when alot of my friends sold or got rid of their ipad2 in order to buy the ipad3 and then were quite disappointed,I felt minimally better and then as many more reviews started coming in with many people preferring the ipad2 still over the 3 I felt vindicated somewhat. It was at that point though that I realised that had I known then what I know now,I would have purchased the ipad2 even at the huge cost of the 64wifi3g version anyways. I am not an uber Apple fan more of a blackberry girl,but that said,I just purchased a playbook 64wifi even with the knowledge that a newer version was set to be released..the £129 price vs 4 times as much almost was a huge factor. I do have an ipod gen2 and am still quite happy with it as it does everything I bought it for,and to be fair,so does my playbook and my ipad2.So ive learned to embrace retaining the joy I felt upon unboxing a new lovely gadget and appriciating all of the wonderful things it does that I originally wanted in order to even buy the product to begin with. As long as apple does not start fiddling and making more things obsolete,rendering my ipad2 useless,I will continue to enjoy it and hope that others will start doing the same.We dont WANT to be a part of the apple cult of “bigger better faster more”keep up with the jones we?! For now,I WISH apple would spend more time on sorting ITUNES and making it more user friendly as I struggle with taking the time to uploading a compliation cd to my pc and itunes just splits and messes it all up on my ipod/ipad2 making it difficult to organise the way I want to. If I put a cd on,i want it to go on my gadget exactly the way I sorted it,not have to spend time googling ways and tips how to sort it or making a playlist for what should have been an easy load and play job. I AM also annoyed that by upgrading OS that Ive lost utube and google maps..I would have hoped that once you have an app installed that even when updating the OS it should leave prior installed apps alone. Now i have to decide(if i can even find a way) to go back to OS5 and not have the rest of the updates I need to stay current or do I just s*ck it up and miss my utube and google maps. Funny thing is I dont think Jobs would have had these petty fights with google and others as well as the new product every 6 months..its thought provoking that blackberry spends more time focusing on what the customer wants and needs and doesnt engage in petty one up manship. I embrace many different tools for many different jobs..I also use an HP lapto and a kindle,both of which are a couple years old and until a tool breaks or is made unusable I am happy to use it forever. Now..if apple could just get their head around customers and pleasing them instead of greedy and petty,I might be a bigger fan, but never a cult member..never that :) cheers all!

  • Al K

    What apple has done here today with the sudden and completly unexpected anouncement of a brand new 4th generation of the Ipad a mear 7 months after the launch of the previous model, i feel completly cheated and out right taken avantage of by apple computers.

    I purchased my “new” ipad back in july, (as soon as i could afford one after having to return launch models in march due to defective screens) with the understanding and expectation that the unit would be the state of the art untill march of next year when based on well established previous history with apple computers, they would logically update the ipad as they have done yearly to the next generation.

    What they did today by anouncing the next generation of ipad so soon after the launch of the previous model, makes me feel cheated and ripped off and has severly shaken my comfidence and loyality with the apple brand.

    It seems ever since the unfortunate passing of steve jobs, that apple has taken a turn for the worse. With the failure of the map apps, the endless lawsuits that anger apples own partners and thus causing them to reduce or remove much beloved apps, and now with this big slap to loyal constemers faces by instantly making there only few month old tables now completly obselete, i feel that everyone who has purchased a 3rd generation ipad deserves some level of compensation for apples outright deceptive buisness practists now.

    I feel a $150 dollar itunes gift card or the same amount off any apple hardwear would be comparable compensation for this outright betrayal of there coustmers faith and trust in there product.

    We the loyal constumers often purchase apple products on or as close to launch day as possable, with the unspoken understanding that the product we purchase will be the latest most state of the art product for a year from that said date. NOT TO BE RENDERED OBSOLIETE within 7 short months. This is an unfair and deceptive buisness practist, one i feel that the late great Steve Jobs would have never done to his loyal coustmers and i feel we all are totally justified in demanding some level of reasonable compensation for this deceptive buisness practist.

  • RobHWales

    This is ridiculous – 3 seconds before they announced the 4th gen iPad were you dissatisfied with it in any way? No – it’s a great piece of technology, and it still is.

    I love my 3rd gen iPad, more than the iPad 2 and original iPad both of which I’ve owned. Now the only difference is – it’s just not the latest model. Big deal – seriously, talk about a first world problem

  • stiff

    This was my first purchase of an Ipad, i have had an Iphone since the first day it came out and upgraded every new model, but after trialing a few Ipads i thought it was high time i got one for myself.
    Six weeks ago i Purchased the 16gb wifi model which until today i have been very impressed with and there is a need in my life for one.
    By the end of the week my model will be outdated 7 weeks after purchase and only seven months after launch, I think this move by apple has been very under handed. Not what i expect from apple at all.
    I wont be considering getting an upgrade and half the value back from mine, this is not a great way to keep your loyal customers Apple

  • BartNJ

    Enjoy it, fanboys. So much for loyalty Great product? Yes, by all means. But, as with EVERY other iThing , they are priced much higher than another comparable tablet, which are just as good.
    Now, would I buy an iPod for my music? Yes, nothing else is worth mentioning. But phones and tablets are all doing the same things, somewhat.
    Bottom line: You are paying for HYPE. It makes you feel special.

  • GagaScrewer

    When the f***ing is done only one way all the time, it sure leads to divorce, I believe you! 😉

  • Juli Clover

    The third generation iPad isn’t obsolete overnight, of course, but the introduction of the fourth generation iPad shortens the iPad 3’s life cycle by at least six months.

    • HunchbackJack

      Six months? Nonsense. Next March 7 – when you would expect the new iPad to come out anyway – is only four months away.

      In any case, while Apple tend to only support the previous two models of any product line, they clearly see the 3 and 4 as effectively the same model – as evidenced by their retaining the iPad 2 as the budget offering (and continuing to support it).

      The only thing iPad3 users have lost is the satisfaction of having the latest and greatest. Nothing else has changed for them.


  • HunchbackJack

    Quit your whining.

    I understand you’re disappointed that you didn’t know to wait for the better product. You feel like an idiot. But all the things you love about your iPad 3 are still there. It hasn’t stopped working. It hasn’t slowed down. It’s just not the latest iPad any more. Boo hoo.

    The only concern you might have is that new apps written for the iPad4 won’t run as fast on the iPad 3. But if there are millions of people out there with 3’s that aren’t going to upgrade – and that’s a fair bet – then any app maker would be an idiot to write an app that doesn’t perform well on the 3. They’re cutting themselves out of the majority of the market up front.

    Even if all you say is true, and you’ve been caught in an upturn in the obsolescence curve, you’ve only lost 4 months of product life out of … how long? Four years? Five?

    You’re not an idiot for buying the iPad3 eight months ago. It was a great product then and still is now. You’re an idiot for thinking that Apple has somehow cheated you by bringing out a new iPad a few months before they would have anyway.


  • Yaa Ahmed

    Why did apple do this. that makes 5-0 to Samsung

  • Ryan H

    They keep pulling this crap on its customers and you will see the stock go down even more! Needless to say I am very pissed off. I just bought 2 iPad 3’s for my family. It’s not the features that I am upset about, it’s how they conducted it.

  • Lydell Fabin

    Lol. Suddenly people feel their iPad 3s are obsolete. Seriously they are still selling the iPad 2 and the mini will have the same specs solo they will continue to support it. What do you want to do on iPad 4 that you can’t do on 3? OK I know, instead of surfing the web at a billion of a second you can surf twice as fast at a half billion of a second. You are right, I would be pissed too.

  • Jeffrey Hendershot

    My first purchase of an iPad was a 1st gen after the 2nd gen was released. I knew 3g wasn’t going to be a huge benefit and the camera stunk so there wasn’t a large difference and I could save a few hundred dollars. I pre-ordered the iPad 3 in March and have been very pleased with it. The only problem I have with it is the 4g doesn’t always connect so I have to fiddle with it (or turn the iPad completely off) when it switches from 3g to 4g. My initial reaction was buyers remorse, but I don’t blame Apple for stepping up the next version (iPad 4th gen) due to heating competition- particularly Windows 8 tablets coming out. I won’t be upgrading this round, however. The speed difference won’t be a big deal to me since I don’t use any apps that will depend on it. The front HD camera? No big deal! I’ve got several HD webcams and don’t need my family to see my lines in my face. The rear camera has the same performance (which I use mostly for scanning documents and video recording). As for the multi-band wifi, for most of us in the USA that won’t mean much performance difference. On the reverse side- the things that are missing (more storage capacity than 64gb, cordless charging, low-power next-generation retina display, etc).- will likely be included in the 5th generation.
    IF there are those with an iPad 3 that WILL purchase an iPad 4, I’d be interested in knowing your reasons (other than being an “early adopter”)!

  • elder Signin

    Yea, you should buy Samdung. They come out with stuff every 3 months and then dump the older gear. Each os is different so no compatibility. And just cheap plastic so pretty much NO trade in value. You would like them.
    Just saying. PS .. Were you one of those idiots in walmart that filmed themselves throwing and dropping iPads in the store? Just wondering. LOL

  • D. Newberry

    My new IPAD3 is my first and last Apple product ever!!

  • Angel


  • Angel

    We purchased tons of the iPad 3s for our school. Now the carts are not compatible and apple says not to buy them. We could’ve waited a month and bought the 4s for the students, but still would’ve had to wait for a cart that hasn’t been made. The reason? Apple released the 4s way to fast. huge let downn and now looking for another product to spend thousands on!