By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
April 4, 2013

FORTUNE — It’s only been 163 days since Apple (AAPL) introduced the iPad mini and updated its full-size iPad line — roughly half the tablet’s usual 311-day product cycle according to MacRumors’ invaluable Buyer’s Guide.

In fact the guide, which advises readers when it’s safe to buy an Apple product, still has a “Buy Now! Product just updated” recommendation on the iPad mini.

That’s likely to be revised soon. On Wednesday, Wal-Mart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY) and MacMall initiated clearance sales, reducing their 3rd-generation iPad and current iPad mini prices roughly 30% across the board — a pretty good sign that Apple is about to replace the old models with new ones.

Could Apple be moving toward a 6-month product release schedule?

That may be where it’s headed, although if that were true of the iPhone, we would have seen a new one last month. The only thing we hear from inside Apple is that the company releases products when they’re ready to ship. And not before.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for good buys on aging Apple devices, AppleInsider maintains an up-to-date reseller price guide and 9to5Mac has a product guide that combines two functions — a release schedule and a price guide.

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