Wild Guess: Why the iPad is Getting the OS 4.0 Update Months After the iPhone

There’s been a lot of interesting discussion about the iPhone and iPad recently. Facts, speculation, and even photos of what appears to be a lost 4th generation iPhone have been revealed pretty quickly over the past couple of weeks. Even the kind of screen that may (or may not) be used in the next generation iPad came up over in DigiTimes.

Apple said to use OLED in second-generation iPad

One interesting item from that OLED story is the somewhat unsurprising note that the next generation iPad will be released in 2011. But, I wonder if we might see a second generation or at least a 1.5 generation iPad as early as this Fall. Let’s review what is known.

1. Apple announced iPhone OS 4.0 and described its main features (tent poles)
2. Apple announced that the update would be available for the iPhone 3GS in full this summer. The 3G will get a partial update (no multitasking) and the original 2G model will not get any upgrade. The iPad will get the 4.0 update in the Fall
3. There’s reasonable speculation that the 4th generation iPhone will be announced on June 22

The question is: Why is the iPhone OS 4.0 update available for the iPhone 3GS and new iPhone several months before the iPad? Yes, it could simply be a technical issue or even a resource one such as finishing updates for the iPhone first then moving the team on to the iPad.

But, here’s my wild guess: September (the first month of Fall) is usually when new iPod models are announced. Perhaps Apple is going to also provide an interim, let’s call it generation 1.5, update for the iPad that adds features to the existing hardware. A front facing camera for video conferences is one many people want and a multitasking OS 4.0 would allow incoming VoIP calls to “ring” the iPad while running in the background. Tethering of some kind and perhaps iPhone availability by verizon is another.

I originally planned to buy an iPad 3G in addition to my WiFi-only model. I’m now toying with the idea of delaying that purchase until this Fall.