Failing that, it all hinges on how credulous the iOSphere is. Sites like iDigitalTimes are pretty credulous. The "report" of the production timing "presumably [is] setting up a launch during late September or early October," iDT calculates. "Presumably" is the kind of word one uses when you have absolutely no idea what's actually involved in manufacturing a sophisticated mass product and in filling and managing a global inventory in anticipation of sales but you still want to sound like you do.
The real reason a late September or early October date sounds convincing is because it's about 12 months after the announcement of iPad mini and the fourth-generation full-size iPad.
iPad 5 is nigh because retailers are slashing, chopping, chain-sawing current iPad prices
On April 4, TechnoBuffalo noted "iPad Prices Get Slashed By Major Retailers, New Version On The Way?"
"Whenever tech companies are about to release an updated version of a technology, prices on previous models usually get cut," posted TB's Adriana Lee. "That makes sense. There's no better way to make room for the new than to clear the shelves of the old. And that's why the industry keeps a sharp eye out for changes in retail, to see if there's a broad pattern of price-slashing surrounding particular gadgets."
That makes sense, too.
"Given that, the iPad price-cutting moves just made by major retailers suggest that we may be on the verge of a new iPad and/or iPad mini," she announced. "...Best Buy pulled the trigger on clearance sales yesterday, as did Wal-Mart and MacMall. The retail outlets are racing to dump their supply of 3rd-gen iPads and iPad minis, with steep cuts of about 30 percent across the board."
The change in pricing was widely noted, and most generally drew the same conclusion. Philip Elmer-Dewitt, at CNN's Apple 2.0 blog, posted that "On Wednesday [April 4], Wal-Mart, Best Buy and MacMall initiated clearance sales, reducing their 3rd-generation iPad and current iPad mini prices roughly 30% across the board -- a pretty good sign that Apple is about to replace the old models with new ones."
"Could Apple be moving toward a 6-month product release schedule?" he wondered, which a lot of people have been wondering since last October when the fourth-generation iPad was released seven months after the iPad with Retina Display.
DeWitt and others posted a capture of Best Buy's web page showing the new pricing: iPad Retina Display, 16GB, at $315, a 30% drop from the previous $450.
The only problem with the analysis is that one week later the prices have almost all reverted back to their customary levels.
The TechnoBuffalo post provided Best Buys' computing clearance page. But when you click on the link, that page, at least on Wednesday, April 10, doesn't show any iPads. In fact, it doesn't even list "Apple" as one of the manufacturers. And if you go to the main website's iPad page you see iPads and iPad mini with prices unchanged: iPad mini from $329, iPad 2 from $399, and iPad with Retina Display, from $499. Ditto with MacMall's iPad page. On the homepage, MacMall was showing an iPad mini from $329, as a "blowout deal."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.