Recent rumors of a new iPad proved true this morning when Apple quietly announced a new version of its fourth-generation tablet. The 128G iPad will go on sale next week with a starting price of $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model and $929 for the cellular-enabled model.
Bringing an iPad with mega-memory to market probably isn’t much of a gamble for Cupertino. It allows Apple to expand its tablet lineup with minimal cost, and the hefty price tag will surely deliver inflated margins. But I’m not sure there’s much of a market here: Mainstream consumers aren’t likely to fork over that kind of cash for a platform for movies, music, games and other apps. And while Apple may be taking aim at Microsoft’s Surface, as ReadWrite’s Dan Rowinski argues here, I still don’t believe the iPad is an attractive alternative to a traditional laptop for most business users — it doesn’t offer the Surface’s nifty keyboard cover, and it can’t support the seamless integration with Windows and Office that Microsoft (and its manufacturing partners) can provide. The new iPad is probably worth bringing to market, but I don’t expect a lot in the way of sales.