While it's not exactly a new iPad, Apple does have plans to step up the current array of iPad offerings to include just a little more power, and at a significantly higher price than the current versions. What's particularly unusual here, though, is that Apple plans to start selling these devices almost immediately.
Apple said earlier today that their newest iPad – which will still be considered a fourth-generation iPad – will go largely unchanged from the current models. Perhaps the only difference is that it will add a new version that features a big chunk more memory than the current versions, going from a current maximum of 64 gigabytes to a new maximum of 128 gigabytes.
There will be no memory changes available for the iPad Mini, however, so this new change is somewhat limited in scope.
The newest iPad line, with the enhanced memory totals, goes on sale starting February 5. Those interested will pay a fairly substantial premium for that extra memory, as the Wi-Fi only models will sell at $799.
The cellular data access models, meanwhile, will go all the way up to $929.
Apple has already sold better than 120 million iPads since its launch less than three years ago, and older models are still available for substantially less.
Early response to the new models doesn't seem to be all that eager, with a lot of people expressing doubt that the new models will sell with the same level of furor as the previous models. After all, there's really nothing different here except for an expansion in memory and a serious boost to the price tag.
Given that users can get a very good quality laptop for less than the cost of one of the expanded Wi-Fi only iPads – as well as significantly more storage, processing power and the same level of connectivity – it doesn't leave a lot of room for reasons to buy one of these.
Oh, sure, they'll sell. There will be some folks out there who will welcome the extra capability that more memory brings along with it, and it's not like Apple is making huge numbers of these. But it's a safe bet that they won't sell in any serious quantity, and will more likely than not be passed over for the "next" iPad – whatever it ends up being called – which should be coming to stores sometime this year anyway if Apple keeps to its normal release schedule.
But Apple has deviated from that in the past, so it's not necessarily a safe bet to say a new iPad will hit this year.
Only time will tell what Apple's wider release plans are in terms of iPads in 2013, but it's certainly always one to watch, and one that has the potential to have a serious impact in the industry at large.
Edited by Braden Becker