The blogosphere must be time-trippin’. The iPad 2 isn’t even out yet, and already, there are rumblings about the iPad 3!
It all starts with renowned blogger and Apple insider John Gruber (of Daring Fireball), who believes that the next next-gen tablet will be launched hot on the heels of the iPad 2 with an unveiling a little bit later this same year:
If my theory is right, they’re not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3. And not only did they announce this with a distant ship date, they did it with no word on pricing.
The “they” Gruber is referring to is Hewlett Packard. And the item that could be causing a stir deep in the heart of Cupertino is a single gadget called the TouchPad – a tablet that is already creating buzz as an iPad killer.
HP, which bought Palm last year, just held a major event in San Francisco to showcase the webOS-related goods they’ve been working on. Among the featured items was the TouchPad, a tablet that is basically an iPad doppelgÃ¤ger, but with better specs – like dual core processor (1.2 GHz Snapdragon), built-in webcam and Adobe Flash support. And that’s just for starters.
The expected launch timeframe for the TouchPad is the summer, but if there are any delays, it could run right into Apple’s music event – and that’s exactly when Gruber thinks the iPad 3 could arrive. That’s right – he thinks this future gadget might not wait for late winter/spring 2012, but be announced right alongside the next iPod Touch 5.
Gruber, if you’re not familiar with him, is an extremely well-connected tech personality who’s known for nailing certain Apple movements in the past, so when he indicates something like an early launch – no matter how wacky it sounds – people take notice. In fact, just to be crystal clear, he later posted an article that pegs a September release for the iPad 3.
Some skepticism would be natural at this point. Apple is rather fond of its habits, no doubt, releasing iPhones at the start of every summer (June/July) and iPods/iPod Touches at the start of every fall (August/September). With the tablet in the mix now, most people expected (and still expect) that the tablet will follow suit and release every late winter/early spring. And that brings us up to speed, with an iPad 2 announcement/launch dropping at any time now. So wouldn’t iPad 3 jumping the gun wreck the timetable?
Well, yes. But as unlikely as that would’ve seemed just a few months ago, we all know now that Apple is doing things differently this time around. The march of Android triggered the long-awaited launch of a CDMA iPhone, ending years of AT&T exclusivity. And similarly, we could be seeing Cupertino moving swiftly to beat back the TouchPad.
Now that doesn’t mean there will be new iPads every six months. More likely, if this does happen, it will be fast-tracked just this once before sticking with a fall launch period. In truth, that makes a lot of sense, since it coordinates with a fall back-to-school schedule. (The education sector is quite a big arena for the tablet.)
Assuming this is true (and that’s still a big assumption), then the only other question left is – what could be on the menu for the iPad 3? LTE/4G support? Faster/Dual processors? What’s your guess? And does this latest rumor change your tablet upgrade plans? Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think.