By Jim Karpen on Fri, 07/12/2013
If you've been thinking of buying a Wi-Fi iPad, then head on over to Target. As part of their "Bonus Black Friday" promotion, they're offering gift cards with purchases of variety items, including a range of iPad Wi-Fi models. Buy an iPad mini, and you'll get a $40 Target gift card. Buy a 4th-generation iPad with retina display or an iPad 2, and you'll get a $50 gift card. They're also giving $10 gift cards with a purchase of an Apple TV. The deals are available through July 13 both in-store and online.
Of course, the question always is, should I buy now or wait for the next model? Even a $50 discount might not be enough to persuade you if you're hoping Apple will come out with a thinner, lighter iPad with retina display or an iPad mini with a higher-resolution display this fall.
If you have a hard time tracking where Apple is in its product cycle, check out a great page on the MacRumors website. Its Buyer's Guide indicates whether it's a good time to buy for each Apple device on the market. It has a color coded chart for each product, where red indicates wait, yellow suggests caution, and green means there's no new model imminent, and you can safely go ahead and purchase now.
I've seen people wait for years, always thinking that they'll hold out for the new model. That's ridiculous. On the other hand, I've had friends buy a product only to see something much better become available just a couple weeks later — such as the person who bought an iPhone 4 several weeks before the 4S was announced. So don't go overboard, but do check the MacRumors Buyer's Guide to make sure you don't get stuck with an old model just before a new one comes out.
No one actually knows exactly when Apple will come out with a new version of the product, but the cycles have been predictable enough that MacRumors is able to make inferences. The cycles don't always hold, such as when the 4th-generation iPad came out just six months after the iPad with retina display. But most of the time Apple is fairly regular in its product releases.
As you can see, MacRumors is currently giving a green light to only two product lines, the iPod touch and MacBook Air, both of which were recently refreshed. Everything else is marked either yellow or red.
For each product, MacRumors summarizes the most recent rumors regarding the timing of the next model's release, tracks the number of days the current model has been available, and gives a 5-year history of the number of days between product releases.