Regarding disgruntled customers, Alexander expects Apple will take a customer service hit. But Apple can offset this by giving customers a deal, perhaps letting them trade in their third-generation iPad for credit towards a fourth-generation iPad or iPad Mini.
"You can do this occasionally," Alexander says. "If you do this repeatedly, you'll have a problem. You'll lose some of the value people place on the brand," adding, "Apple can't refresh the iPad in March because it would be unsettling to customers."
All of this raises the question: When will be the next iPad update?
Strategically, the fourth-generation iPad coming on the heels of the third-generation iPad alters the upgrade cycle from the first of the year to the end of the year. "It's a strong possibility," says Alexander. "In the competitive tablet space, the fourth quarter has become the 'it' quarter for new tablet introductions."
But this means that the next iPad won't come out until next fall. Because the third-generation iPad and fourth-generation iPad are basically the same with the exception of a faster chip (and Lightning connector), the next iPad will be the first significant upgrade in 17 months.
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