Apple almost never goes more than twelve months without revamping its major mobile product lines, which means that the iPad 5 should have a release date no later than October this year.
Apple to release iPad 5 in July 2013?
However, the iPad 4 arrived after the iPad 3 had been on the market for a mere six months, meaning that Apple could conceivably introduce the iPad 5 as soon as June.
We would have seen way more leaks of parts if June or July was really that possible
Also we have precedence on this matter. The last time they broke with the whole one year give or take a month was the iPhone 4S which was like 15 to 16 months after the iPhone 4.
Which also had an ‘odd’ mini release of another model (for Verizon) a handful of months before the traditional and expected date.
And the iPhone 5 was one year after that later date.
Now we have a break in the scheme, this time early. And a new model (the 128GB) coming ‘mid stream’.
The more likely conclusion is that Apple was tired of folks griping about how the current iPad was missing features from the new iOS version because there needed to be a hardware change, felt they could get more sales of a new model during holiday instead of after, and didnt want folks griping about a delay with all the analysts hue and cry of ‘issues’ as the cause.
So they decided to change the release time to the fall with the new iOS and before holiday and went with a short turn around not a long.
And released this big storage model now because there won’t be a spring release otherwise they would have just gone big as a ‘one more thing’ detail
Just like they would more likely have done with the Verizon phone had the new model been in June or the T-Mobile now.