Kevin C Tofel has a great post up at Gigaom Mobile, running down some reasons he thinks the iPad lineup may no longer need a yearly refresh. The two main reasons for this are that right now there just aren’t a significant number of iPad apps that can fully take advantage of the latest, greatest iPad hardware; and that the typical user’s refresh cycle for a tablet device is likely a lot longer than for phones and closer to that of PCs.
Well, that’s my quick paraphrasing of Tofel’s reasons – here’s part of his take on iPad apps and new iPad hardware:
Put another way: Is there a “killer app” that really needs the iPad Air 2 hardware to make a huge impact? I can’t think of one.
Note that I’m not trying to put down app developers here. There are tens of thousands of programmers working hard to make great iOS apps. Some will be happy to see the new Metal graphics tool available in iOS 8 for sure. And I have no doubt that more visually and computationally complex apps will be afforded a better experience on the iPad Air 2. I just haven’t seen a software-based reason to compel many people to upgrade their hardware. It may take a year or more before app capabilities catch up to the hardware in the latest iPad.
I definitely agree with Tofel’s prediction that we will start seeing a refresh of just part of the iPad lineup each year; as we already have done really. This year’s update to the iPad mini was minimal to say the least. Same goes for the way it was almost totally ignored at Apple’s new iPad announcement event back in October. It would make sense to do more for the smallest iPad next year, then address the bigger model/models (if we see the rumored new 12 inch iPad) the following year, and then to follow that sort of pattern.
In any case, Tofel’s full post on this subject is well worth a read.