Earlier 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?