A pair of rumors has hit the internet regarding the next generation of tablets. In one report, BGR cites a “trusted source” at Samsung saying that the company will be unveiling a new 11.6-inch tablet at the Mobile World Congress in February. The rumored device will have vastly improved screen resolution, a 2GHz dual-core processor, and thanks to a smaller bezel will be close to the same size as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 despite the increased screen size. It will also run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The announcement, BGR says, will be timed to beat Apple to the punch. The original iPad was announced in March 2010 and went on sale in April. The iPad 2 was announced in early March of this year and went on sale in mid-March. Applehas generally tended to be a creature of habit when it comes to product cycles..
Samsung, however, may not be getting as much of a drop on Apple as they hope. Business Insider is reporting that Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner posted a note to clients saying that he expects Apple to unveil the iPad 3 in February of 2012, rather than in March. He cited a lack of “significant technical hurdles” preventing the release of the device earlier than usual. He also said that he expects the device to have a much higher resolution than the iPad 2, but apparently avoided using the term “retina display.” Debate has raged since the introduction of the iPhone 4 last year as to whether and when Apple would try to add a retina display to the iPad.
At this stage neither of these reports amounts to more than rumor and speculation, however both rumors are at least plausible, especially in light of the ongoing legal battle over Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. A new Samsung tablet would neatly circumvent the court case by allowing the company to start selling a non-disputed product. It also makes sense that the Samsung would want this new device to beat the iPad 3 to market, especially if it is sporting specs that will give Apple’s tablet a run for its money (currently the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is widely regarded as the iPad’s closest competitor).
Conversely, while Apple does tend to follow fairly rigid patterns regarding its product launches, it is in the company’s interest to keep Samsung from gaining any ground in the tablet market. Therefore it is at least possible that the company would move up its launch of the iPad to undercut Samsung. However, Apple has also shown marked indifference to the launch of other companies’ products when unveiling its own products.
Of the two reports, it seems much more likely that Samsung will be launching a tablet in February than that Apple will. However, everything is still just rumor at this point. Of course, we will post more when we know more.
What do you think? Would Apple move a product launch to undercut a competitor? Sound off in the comments.