Apple preparing iPad 3 for September?

Could Apple be preparing to surprise consumers -- and the growing competition -- with a Retina Display packing iPad 3 at this September's traditional iPod event? Daring Fireball's John Gruber is guessing they might while TechCrunch is saying they're hearing it's on the table. DF:

How could Apple release a third-generation iPad just six months or so after the second one? Maybe it won’t be an actual next generation model. Maybe it’s more like an iPad 2.5, or iPad 2 Pro — a new higher-end model that sits atop the iPad product family, not a replacement for the iPad 2 models (which, of course, haven’t even been released yet).

Or: an iPad 2 HD. What if that’s the source of the conflicting reports of a retina display next-gen iPad? I am nearly dead certain the iPad 2 is going to have the same display resolution and size as the current iPad. I am not so sure at all, though, that there won’t be a double-resolution 2048 × 1536 iPad in 2011.


We’ve now heard that this “fall surprise” is related to this would-be iPad 3. We don’t have any more concrete information beyond that. But, as of right now, the plan is apparently to release one iteration of the iPad in the next few weeks. And then blow the doors open with another new version in the fall.

So far iOS device releases have been once a year, the same time of year. iPad hasn't had an update yet so anything is possible. Given the rather conservative update for iPad 2 hinted at by the WSJs usually rock-solid sources, iPad 3 in the fall would definitely push the pace in the face of competition from Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets, BlackBerry PlayBook and HP TouchSmart. Would mainstream consumers feel burned? Would you be upset if you bought an Pad 2 in spring and Apple fielded an iPad 3 in fall, or do you just want new Apple tech as fast as possible?

[Daring Fireball, Techcrunch]