As the fervor surrounding tomorrow’s big announcement builds, fanboys and fangirls are eagerly sitting around their computers gulping down all the latest iPad 2 rumors that the Internet has to offer. One of the popular rumors out there is that tomorrows iPad 2 unveiling will be a disappointing spec bump and that the real grand daddy of tablet computers, the iPad 3, will be unveiled later in the year (possibly in September if Gruber and others are correct).
Cult of Mac has published a number of articles supporting the idea that Apple will be releasing two iPads in 2011. While there have been a significant amount of doubters to this theory of two iPads being launched, one must take into account that such a move wouldn’t be completely unprecedented. I’m referring to the iPod Mini 2G vs. the iPod Nano in 2005.
If you remember your Apple history, Steve Jobs announced the iPod Mini in January 2004 and people were enamored with the size. Utilizing Microdrive hard drives, the Mini was significantly more portable that the original iPod and sales of the device skyrocketed. Then in February of 2005 Apple unveiled the second-generation iPod Mini. Within months the iPod Mini had become Apple’s most popular iPod selling more units than the 4G iPod Photo.
Unexpectedly, on September 7th 2005, only a few months after bringing the second gen iPod Mini to market, Apple shocked everyone by announcing the iPod Nano which officially replaced the new iPod Mini line. With the use of flash memory, the iPod Nano was drastically smaller than the iPod Mini but still packed all the same features. Instead of customers being outraged that their still shiny and new iPod Minis had become obsolete, people flocked in droves to get their hands on the marvelous iPod Nano. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, more iPod Nanos were purchased in 2005 than 4G iPod Classics or iPod Shuffles in that same year, and the device went on to become Apple’s most popular MP3 player for a number of years.
With all that in mind it’s fairly reasonable to say that while it may be a somewhat risky move to release the iPad 3 in 2011 (in regards to customer satisfaction), Apple has been here before and done it. Keep in mind that if Apple does decide to come out with a third generation iPad in September it will undoubtedly have to be quite a big leap forward in the same way that the iPod Nano was a huge leap into the future compared to the iPod Mini. All the rumors actually point out that the iPad 3 will be just that and blow competitors out of the water. So when Steve takes the stage in September to show off a sexy slab of metal and glass featuring a Retina Display, nicer camera, NFC, and 5000 other magical mind blowing features we hope you all won’t be incredibly shocked and pissed off that you bought the measly iPad 2 three months earlier. Either way, we’re in for some real treats this year from Apple and can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
updated: I found this video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPod Nano talking about completely replacing the iPod Mini