I'm about to buy an iPad, but I don't want to, if in 6 months, the new version has cooler features like retina display.

Is there a chance for it to happen? Or should I buy it now, and just, enjoy it for the next months.

  • 5
    I don't think anyone outside Apple really knows
    – Rich Seller
    Jul 22, 2010 at 16:45
  • 2
    The next version of the iPad will have features of sufficient coolness that a meaningful number of current iPad owners will want to trade up. Plus, many households will want to have more than one iPad. Dec 8, 2010 at 4:12
  • 2
    Pretty much anything you buy will be outdated in a few months ... Dec 8, 2010 at 6:56
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    -1 for being purely speculative. Theres no sense in asking questions about unannounced Apple products, and even less sense trying to make purchasing decisions based on that muddy crystal ball. Decide based on what you know today - or decide to postpone your decision until new devices are announced. Dec 8, 2010 at 10:59
  • @torbengb: Good point. Looking at this site's Area 51 entry, something very similar is listed as definitely off-topic ("What's Apple going to release in the next generation iPad?").
    – Jonik
    Dec 8, 2010 at 17:23

6 Answers 6


Maybe the right question to ask is: is current featureset of the gadget worth the money over the expected period (6-18 months) until the new version arrives ? If yes, go ahead. Waiting for better improved version may also mean you never get one as there is always going to be better version.

What works for me is skip-one, buy-one approach, getting every second update. You can decide whether you start with version one or two: I had same dilema with iPhone: I skipped the version one, bought 3G, skipped 3GS and now considering getting iPhone 4 when it arrives to Canada.

With iPad, I bought one right away as I waited for eBook reader that works for me and iPad is definitely one. I will very likey skip iPad 2 and likely get iPad 3 2-3 years from now.

  • 1
    Sounds like a reasonable strategy. Apple makes a new version of iPhone (and possibly iPad as well) once a year. Amazon follows more or less a similar timeline (often delayed). I bought a Kindle2 three months ago; now Kindle3 is going to be out in a month (no big differences though). I will likely wait for Kindle4.
    – Sridhar Ratnakumar
    Jul 31, 2010 at 18:16

Apple has update cycles ranging from 6 to 18 months, with the most popular consumer devices getting annual improvements. Many sites keep track of the history of devices such as this apple buying guide: MacRumors Buyer's Guide.

Apple has also gotten into trouble with consumers for dropping prices after they've squeezed their early adopters. Given historical precedent, Apple will realize the technical specs for the iPad are underpowered and they will likely release a new one at the year mark (April 2011) or even sooner. If you can wait 9 months, you can likely get more features or a secondhand device at a discount.

You can compare the tech specs for the screens on apples site.
The iPad:

  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)

iPhone with Retina Display:

  • 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display
  • 960-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi

There isn't a direct correlation between the two devices. The iPad however is advertised as an HD video viewer supporting 720p. Apple may see no need to increase resolution beyond the current level for the next release, but 1080p support would appear to be the next logical resolution update.

  • Links to specs on Apple site prevented due to low rep. I totally left out the obvious camera and face time support in the next rev.
    – SpecKK
    Jul 22, 2010 at 17:08
  • uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTOE66M00620100723 suggests that iPad production will be held back due to screen availability. Either LG will step up and produce more screens, or Apple will may need to find a new screen source.
    – SpecKK
    Jul 26, 2010 at 21:00
  • @SpecKK I added some links for the iPhone and iPad, if I got the wrong ones please add a comment, or you should be able to add multiple links yourself now.
    – Rich Seller
    Jul 30, 2010 at 23:09

IMHO I'd say the buy vs. wait is a problem is always there on all gadget purchases. The longer you wait the better off you will be (larger community of knowledgeable user, accessories, price, features, stability, etc.) On the other hand you could find yourself perpetually waiting and thats no fun

Personally I wait when

1) A new product announcement has been made so I put off my purchase until the product is released.

2) I have a product that fills my current need (in the case of an iPad a small laptop) and it still has some life in it.

3) The technology is still in its infancy and its value is limited due to a low network effect (e.g. 3D TV)

In the case of the iPad I think only 2 is in play.


I'm guessing it's likely there will be a CPU and most certainly a RAM upgrade in the next 6-8 months. Also it is clear that Apple wants to be the leader in the Ereader market and a better display would make a massive difference.

So yeah it's possible and my gut feel is that it is likely a retina display will ship in the next 6-8 months. But only Apple knows and information rarely leaks out 6 months before launch.

Nonetheless, I am using an iPad to type this reply and to me it feels like a second generation device not a first gen device. It always works, battery life is awesome and its a real awesome device for browsing while sitting on the couch. Personally if I had a real use for an iPad I would buy it. You can always sell it on ebay in 5 months if you want the next gen

  • 1
    typing on iPad is beyond horrible though. It is a good passive browsing device, however. Jul 31, 2010 at 0:25
  • @Jeff: was that your initial reaction, or after a significant time of usage? I thought pretty much the same at first, but even after just a few days, typing is getting a lot easier. Just learning to trust the keyboard was part of the problem.
    – Bobby Jack
    Sep 22, 2010 at 12:55

That's exactly why I'm holding off. I believe an iPad with retina display (and possibly camera) will be in the next iteration. Can you imagine that display???

IMO, iPad is already awesome, so you can't lose buying one now, if you can afford it. I found out the hard way that I couldn't afford it - my wife made me return it lol.

  • Although that seems like an obvious upgrade, DO take into account the MUCH larger size of the iPad's screen. I'm not at all sure on the costings - I'm sure someone could work it out - but I wouldn't be hugely surprised if a retina screen were much more expensive, possibly even prohibiting it from the next release.
    – Bobby Jack
    Sep 22, 2010 at 12:53

GDGT says it's unlikely

...given what's out there today, I think the technological leap required to make a 9.7-inch 2560 x 1920 display possible isn't right around the corner.