WWDC 2013 has come and gone with almost no mention of iPads or Apple TV. We didn’t expect new hardware, but surprisingly Apple barely discussed software for either Apple TV or iPads. In fact, they only released beta versions of iOS 7 for iPhones and iPod touches. The company indicated that iOS 7 beta software for iPads would be released in a few weeks.
This could be just due to the fact Apple is running behind pushing out it’s latest version of iOS or perhaps the company is planning to hold a separate event for iPads in the coming weeks.
The iPad is a flagship product and would warrant a separate event to launch a new version. This would also create another press opportunity rather than dilute the news with all of the new software releases during WWDC.
A separate iPad event would also give Apple the opportunity to show off iOS 7 running on the popular tablet. At first, one might think Apple will just wait until iOS 7 is ready for iPads to ship the new devices, but not if history is any indication.
Apple doesn’t need to wait for iOS 7 to ship the iPad 5. With the exception of the iPad mini and iPad 4 (which were released on the same day) all other iPads shipped with something other than the first version of the new operating system.
- Original iPad – Shipped with iPhone OS 3.2
- iPad 2 – Shipped with iOS 4.3
- iPad 3 (New iPad) – Shipped with iOS 5.1
- iPad 4 – Shipped with iOS 6.0
- iPad mini – Shipped with iOS 6.0
This is in contrast to what Apple has done with iPhones.
- Original iPhone – Shipped with iPhone Software 1.0
- iPhone 3G – Shipped with iPhone Software 2.0
- iPhone 3GS – Shipped with iOS 3.0
- iPhone 4 – Shipped with iOS 4.0
- iPhone 4S – Shipped with iOS 5.0
- iPhone 5 – iOS 6
Apple will likely have some iPad specific features with iOS 7 and will want to show them off on stage, but if the iPad 5 is ready, they won’t wait months to unveil the new tablet. This would also apply for the iPad mini, but Apple could make a business decision to stagger the releases of the two tablets and release the mini later in the year.
The Apple TV set top box is also due for a hardware update. The current Apple TV offers little room for storage, which would make installing third party apps almost impossible. The other missing element to make games work on Apple TV was solved with iOS 7. Apple released a game controller API that will allow third party manufactures to make game controllers for iOS devices. This may be part of Tim Cooks “grand plan” for Apple TV.