There have been plenty of rumors predicting Apple’s release of new iPads. So we perked up when digging into our SDK data we spotted evidence that the newest iPads are being tested now, and probably on pace for a spring release.
The timing makes sense. Since the iPad’s debut in 2010, there’s been a steady decline in consumer enthusiasm for purchasing the devices. And that’s a problem for Apple, which wants the iPads to be a premium product, with a premium sticker price.
What is the data and where does it come from?
What this graph shows is a steadily increasing number of devices with as-yet-unreleased model names that are showing up in our data. The data comes from our attribution SDK many of our clients use to track and target their mobile ads.
All four devices were spotted in the San Francisco Bay area — Cupertino and a dozen other suburbs. Apple is testing a range of popular and not-so-popular apps, including games, lifestyle apps, and e-commerce on the new devices. And they’re all running either the latest public version of iOS — 10.3 — or the as-yet-unreleased iOS 11.
So what does it mean?
To us, this data seems to show Apple is preparing to release two new models of iPads. With the third-party app ecosystem being such a critical part of the iPad’s success, testing in real-world situations, with the apps people use, is essential to a smooth launch. Given the attention being given to Apple’s iPad line by investors and fans right now, a smooth launch is important, so thorough testing is probably getting a lot of internal emphasis.
If the new models prove to be a step up over older models, iPad advertising could see a resurgence. Our iOS trackers reveal that 72% of iPads in use today are more than three years old, which makes them less valuable for app and brand advertisers alike. A spike in new iPad purchases could bring back some of the lustre that once made them incredibly attractive to advertisers.
One thing we didn’t see is tests being done outside of the immediate surroundings of Apple HQ. In the past, we’ve seen tests in scattered locations around the globe — this could mean that the release is still a bit further out. On the other hand, it may be that international testing just isn’t as important for this release.
This data has a lot of people talking. Thanks to those who picked it up at TechCrunch, eWeek, PC Mag, Macworld, and everywhere else. To keep up to date on all the latest Apple data, subscribe to this blog or bookmark our iOS Trackers.