That's The Rollup's favorite bit: "it appeared certain." It once appeared certain that the world was flat. So ... what the heck happened?
"It appears Apple had been making plans to launch the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 sooner and worked to clear out inventory accordingly, but had to pull back at the last minute and temporarily left Best Buy and others without sufficient stock," Robison explains, without a shred of evidence to back this up. Nothing indicates that Apple had any plan whatsoever to announce the Next iPads in spring 2013, except completely unconfirmed scuttlebutt.
It apparently cannot be repeated often enough what Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the company's most recent earnings call in April 2013, in an unprecedented statement: "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014 [emphasis added]. We continue to be very confident in our future product plans." [For complete details, see "Apple's Cook resets 3 popular, and wrong, Apple rumors"]
For Robison, the reality of iPad can't be reduced to announced plans. Because the inventory clearance and inventory restoration have to mean, you know, something.
"But the restored inventory means that the iPad 4 and iPad mini are in fact still in production, and points to nothing debuting until at least the summer," he concludes.
Four days later, another Stabley Times writer, Phil Moore, posted "Five reasons to expect iPad 5 and retina iPad mini 2 July release date."
He repeats and expands Robison's clearance sales claim. For Moore, the clearance sales showed that Apple actually had stopped production of the existing iPad models, but then ran into some glitch with the Next iPads, and rushed the Current iPads back into production. He seems to think that assembly lines for different models of complex mobile computers can be turned on and off like a garden sprinkler.
He at least acknowledges that Cook had something to say about this, but Cook's comment was actually a "head fake" -- Cook was trying to deceive everyone. Moore: "when Tim Cook said not to expect new products until late 2013, he glossed over two details. July is in the second half of the year, making it technically 'late 2013.' And the iPad 5 and retina iPad mini 2, despite being new generations, aren't technically new product lines."
Only in the iOSphere can iPad 2 be considered a new product but the third and fourth generation iPads not new products but only new generations. Moore is simply wrong about Cook's comments. As already noted, Cook didn't say "late 2013" but "this fall and throughout 2014."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.