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NewsPoster Apr 4, 2013 04:29 PM
Fortune: iPad sales hinting at new model soon?
Two <a href="">recent sales</a> on full-size and smaller iPad models by major US retailers may be laying the groundwork for a <a href="">new model to emerge soon</a>, <em>Fortune's</em> Philip Elmer-DeWitt believes. As of today, both the latest fourth-gen iPad and the iPad mini are only 163 days old, just shy of six months. However, on Wednesday both <a href="">Walmart and Best Buy</a> offered "clearance sale" type specials, taking as much as 30 percent off the retail price of the few remaining third-generation iPads but also offering deals on the current iPad mini -- leading to speculation that a revision is on the way.<br /><br />Some leading Apple-oriented bloggers -- including the well-connected John Gruber and developer/publisher Marco Arment -- <a href="" rel='nofollow'>seem to believe</a> the full-size (9.7-inch) iPad may get a hardware bump as early as this month. Their speculation centers around alleged shortages of the full-size model, possibly leading to a restyling the larger tablet to look more like the iPad mini, which features a thinner, lighter anodized metal shell and narrower bezel. The iPad mini has proven a popular choice and Apple may wish to revitalize full-size iPad sales with a new look and potentially other hardware improvements, such as a faster processor.<br />
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If released in April or May, a restyled full-size iPad would likely be only incrementally different from its predecessor spec-wise, but would be very unlikely to ship with the still-in-progress iOS 7 which is alleged to be the debut of Sir Jonathan Ive's software design makeover. The sales on iPad mini may also portend an <a href="" rel='nofollow'>updated model</a>, possibly similar to the current one with the addition of a Retina display and corresponding bump in graphics processing.<br />
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A more left-field option -- should Apple make any announcements of new hardware at all this spring -- is the possibility of a new Mac Pro model, long awaited by fans of the pro-level workstations. Apple CEO Tim Cook promised <a href="" rel='nofollow'>a new model</a> sometime this year in response to a query from a long-suffering Mac Pro user who bemoaned the lack of substantial upgrades nearly a year ago. Currently, the Mac Pro remains the last Mac model still in production that lacks <a href="" rel='nofollow'>USB 3.0</a> or a Thunderbolt connector.<br />
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As it is not a consumer-oriented item, a new Mac Pro would be likely to debut sooner rather than later in the year, and Apple would likely want to space such a premiere well away from any iPhone or iPad announcements. Many believe Apple will announce a new Mac Pro at the WWDC conference, which is likely to happen June 10-14 (though confirmed dates have not yet been announced). On the other hand, sneak peeks (or possibly <a href="" rel='nofollow'>formal announcements</a>) of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 may also be on the menu for the conference, prompting Apple to bring the revised Mac Pro out earlier.<br />
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If Apple were to bring out an iPad or iPad mini revision before the six-month mark, the public and pundits would likely believe that Apple plans on putting the product on a six-month revision cycle, placing undue pressure on the company to one-up their own products in a market where the iPad line is still the only significant player. Though Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire lines have made a small dent in the tablet market, end-user surveys show clearly that the iPad still has a <a href=" .in.tablets/" rel='nofollow'>huge majority in marketshare</a>, with Microsoft's surface thus far failing to find an audience.
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