Apple will ship the so-called “iPad 3″ with a full HD display in March and then “iPad 4″ – named so by its component suppliers – with killer applications in October, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
The iPad 3 will come with a QXGA (1,536×2,048 pixels) display and longer battery life although its other hardware specifications may not be so amazing as expected, said the sources. But Apple will take the advantage of the iPad 3 launch to slash the price of its iPad 2 to US$399, the sources claimed.
The March launch of iPad 3 as well as the price cutting for iPad 2 will enable Apple to fend off competition from non-iPad vendors including Sony, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics, who currently price their tablet PCs at US$359 or above, commented the sources.
However, the competition in the segment may continue to heat up in the second quarter of 2012 as Google reportedly may also launch an own-brand tablet PC in April, competing with Kindle Fire in the entry-level segment, noted the sources.
But a true battle for market share will arrive in the second half of the year when Apple ships its iPad 4 in October, about the time when Microsoft releases its Window 8 and Intel unveils its Clover Trail-W platform, the sources commented.
The 9.7-inch iPad 4 is expected to come with much upgraded hardware specifications and integrated applications so as to compete with an array of Android-, Wintel- or WoA (Windows on ARM)-based tablet PCs to be released in the fourth quarter, said the sources.