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Piper Jaffray Suggests iPad Update for April

After the rumors of the Apple TV SDK scheduled for next month -- when the iPad is usually launched . . . well . . . until this year, it turns out -- investment research company Piper Jaffray claims they have seen new iPad body styles in the works, forecasting an Apple event for April.


"We believe that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April," Gene Munster a Piper Jaffray analyst wrote to clients on Friday. "Over the past two years, the Spring event has been iPad updates."

There are certain factors that seem to reinforce the investment firm's claims. For instance, when Apple introduced the iPad mini in October, it also updated the iPad, bringing some "minor" changes. This means a double speed CPU and, of course, the Lightning connector. But the fourth-generation iPad's design wasn't affected by the changes.

Gene Munster believes this year's first Apple event could feature a redesigned full-sized iPad with Retina Display, with the whispered characteristics of the iPad mini. Earlier rumors, however, claimed the iPad mini will likely come in March, but we haven't yet had any confirmation of the spring launch. Instead, the sources seem to point toward an October launch.

The average time between the events has been 123 days, about 4 months. The longest amount of time between events since the 3GS launch in 2009 was 216 days (about 7 months), which was the gap between the iPad 2 launch in March 2011 and the iPhone 4S launch in October 2011, Munster found.

Munster, however, told his clients he had gone back and combed over several years of events where the company launched a significant new hardware product and analyzed the time lapses between those events. He found that since June 8, 2009 (launch of the iPhone 3GS), Apple has held 11 major product launch events.

Following the launch event pattern Munster just illustrated, the most probable event should be held somewhere in February, or, if we take the 7-month break, in May.

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