You can't go far wrong with writing about the next Apple product in tech journalism. The rumour-mill that surrounds Apple mobile device launches is SEO-gold and we all know it, which means any morsel, no matter how speculative or thinly-sourced is fair game.
The WSJ is world-class when it comes to exclusives, which is why it has a fighting chance at making the subscription model work, but there was something wonderfully vague and generic about the headline for its latest Apple scoop: ‘Apple Developing New iPad'.
There is a bit more detail in the body-copy. The WSJ's ‘people familiar with the situation' reckon Apple's component-ordering activities point towards an early 2012 launch for the iPad 3, which would be in keeping with the launches of the previous two. If the WSJ's sources are sound that puts to bed the rumours of a second iPad launch this year, which may have just been put out by Apple to intimidate the competition.
The piece also says the iPad 3 is expected to have a display with quadruple the resolution of the iPad 2 - in effect a retina display. "Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012," said an anonymous person at an unnamed supplier.
The WSJ still has a lot to learn about speculative reporting, however, and could do worse than subscribe to DigiTimes for a master-class. A report from the usual anonymous component supply-chain sources earlier this week adds further weight to the theory that Apple is dicking its competitors around by regularly shifting the goalposts.
Apple so defined the modern tablet category when it launched the iPad - and wrecked so many plans with the launch of the iPad 2 - that the general feeling in the rest of the industry is there's no point in launching a next-generation tablet until Apple has done its thing. At least then you can tailor your message accordingly and not have the rug pulled from under you by an iPad-copter, or whatever.
Then again, it is possible that Apple had been planning to launch another tablet this year, but a combination of supply issues and the relative failure of its competitors encouraged it to revert back to plan A. We can't know for sure either way, but that won't stop us reckoning stuff and sharing it with you. Time for one of our favourite clips.