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What was the real reason for the early iPad 4 launch?

So, Apple has launched a slew of new products, including the underwhelming iPad Mini, and the superfast iPad 4. The unexpected launch of the new full-size iPad has Apple fans around the world fuming – at least, those who bought the iPad 3.

The iPad 4 was launched just seven months after the previous model (which presumably won't be called the "New IPad" any more, although that was what Apple wanted us to call it at the time). The biggest enhancement is the new A6X chip, which is twice as fast as the previous A5 chip. Writers such as Roger Chiang over at CNET are incensed, because they purchased the previous version. "What does that mean for the folks who actually bought the new iPad?" he asks.

According to a study by Toluna QuickSurveys, 45% on average of the 2000 consumers polled said that they were unhappy about the timing. Like Cheng, they presumably felt as though they had been shortchanged. 50% of iPad three owners were unhappy, followed by 45% of iPad 2 owners. Even one in four first-generation iPad owners were miffed. You have to wonder why the third lot are upset. After all, it's been more than two years since the original one was launched. That's definitely time enough for a refresh. 

But there is validity to the concerns of the iPad 3 crowd. Software developers will be creating products designed to use all the capabilities of the new processor, which means that they will perform less well on an iPad 3. As more software appears, the onus will be on users of previous products to upgrade – even if they are less than a year old. On top of that, the iPad 4 uses the new Lightning connector, which will make accessory manufacturers freeze out iPad 3 users.

Some muse that Apple has launched the iPad 4 so quickly to get sales in for Christmas. It's worth pointing out, however, that there were some complaints over heat issues with the iPad 3, which people said Bernd 10% hotter than its predecessor.

The iPad 3 has disappeared from the Apple Store, while the iPad 2 remains. It will be interesting to see how much work Apple has done to quietly fix some of the hardware issues with the iPad 3 while simultaneously adding a faster processor.

So, what can you do if you have an iPad 3 and feel disgruntled? According to some reports, you can try to take it back, if you purchased it in the last month, and see if Apple will take pity on you.

Alternatively, you could thumb your nose at Apple and opt for Microsoft's new Surface tablet (or wait for the full Windows Pro version, rather than opting for the crippled Windows RT). Perhaps instead, you could wait until the end of this month, when Google will allegedly launch a whole slew of new products, including a larger tablet.

At least there's one good thing about the shortening product cycle: there is no shortage of choice.

Apple's launch feels to me like blatant contempt for its iPad customers. What about you? Do you trust Apple any more?

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets



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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.