I'm new here - hello! Joined to comment on this bit of news, that to me is rather disturbing.
So, speculations and murmurs from me - I'm not a native english speaker, so pardon, if something doesn't make sense:
I'm having a hard time accepting this - it just doesn't make any sense to me. Why would Canon hand a share of their market to Nikon like that? IMO people who need the 1Ds for it's body and autofocus won't be satisfied with the 5D II or any iterations unless they greatly improved the latter - I was very disappointed with the AF when I borrowed one wanting to upgrade my 1D II - it wasn't better than that old thing.Improving both body and AF in a future 5D will increase the selling price will exclude the amateurs/enthusiasths/prosumers - whatever you call them - that are right now buying the 5D II.
Of course, weird decisions are being made the whole time - Canon launching the 7D that to me bastardizes their whole "pro" range and making it more confusing than it was already with the 5D MK II. Nikon launching the D700 competing with their own top of the line products (and losing customers to one of their own lower tier products - what gives? I base this solely on, that I know many who sold their D3's and got the D700 + "motor" to replace it. It may also be a very consciouse decision, to bridge the gap between two user-segments).
Anyway, in short, cancelling the 1Ds IV would almost certainly send many customers (that haven't alrady fled because of the III) running to Nikon and the D#X or what they'll be called.
Ok, well, ramblings, then looking from another perspective, the 1Ds IV that may not be:
How many 1Ds' do Canon sell? What do they cost in R&D and production? The price is high, but if the sales are low, it might not be high enough to warrant the continued existence of the 1Ds. Are they simply changing their "nomenclature" and launching it in some different version?
Are they consolidating their different models in some fashion? (7D, 5D 1D - the "#D" line has expanded greatly the last few years - are they trying to seperate the top of the line from the lower tier models or are they consolidating to make the 7D/5D seem as attractive as the 1D-line? - some consumers are stupid and may not be able to see what they are paying for and why - which is understandable in the confusion. And that may be the reason too.
Thinking about production cost, the 1Ds is essentially a 1D IV with bigger mirror and sensor. I'm not into the technical details to be 100% sure, but it seems to me that changing production from the 1D to 1Ds line shouldn't be too difficult - but it may be.
Or is it simply a cathastrophically stupid decision, or just a rumor that has no basis in reality? The 1Ds is (or was) a benchmark and I can't for the life of me imagine that dropping that particular model would serve any positive purpose neither financially, custumor or pr-wise.
Fact is we lack facts, it would be pretty easy to take a very accurate guess at what is going on, if we had sales numbers (for every model) and ROI etc. from Canon. I can't find them, if someone can, please post!
Ok, that's it. Just a longer thingy on this subject.