By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 03/18/2014
While the newest Apple products usually get all of the attention, remember that Apple often keeps the previous generation of products around to achieve a lower price point. The third generation iPad introduced the Retina display but still had the 30-pin connector. Then the fourth generation offered a Lightning interface. The iPad Air was thinner and had a narrower bezel.
Each time they introduced a new iPad, the old iPad stayed on the shelf at $100 less. That changed when the $499 iPad Air was introduced. Instead of keeping the fourth generation iPad around at $399, Apple seemingly abandoned it, and kept the much older iPad 2 on the shelf at $299.
The time for the iPad 2 to go was overdue. Indeed at $299, an iPad mini was a better deal, or for a little more, the new iPad mini Retina. Now the fourth generation iPad with Retina display and a Lightning connector is back and for sale at Apple priced at $399.
When I was a Product Manager at Sun Microsystems, we learned the hard way that you can't just make products obsolete as fast as you would like. If you sell to the government, they often have contracts that require five years of availability. That may have played a role in Apple keeping the iPad 2 on the shelves as long as they did.
Now, Apple can display a more modern product line, and begin to wind down their inventory of 30-pin cables. If the iPhone 5c 8Gb comes to the U.S. instead of the iPhone 4S, then every handheld iOS device they sell would be Lightning based. Keep an eye on Apple's Refurbished & Clearance page for even more deals!