iPad 3? Apple hasn't even announced theyet, let alone started selling it. But with an April launch looking very likely for the company's second-generation tablet, the blogosphere has already moved on to rumours of a third iPad coming as early as September this year.
They're not just any rumours, either. Blogger John Gruber has a very good recent record of predicting upcoming Apple products, based on his sources within the company.
Yesterday, in response to the unveiling of the wrote this pithy sentence: "If my theory is right, they [HP] are 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.", he
Gruber followed up with a longer post in which he clarified that this is a guess on his part, rather than hard information from Apple, but explained his reasoning.
"I don't think April is a particularly good month for an annual iPad release. I don't think it's a particularly bad month, either, but it doesn't make as much sense as September," he writes. "My gut feeling is that Apple will move the iPad to a September release schedule, alongside the iPods."
Gruber goes on to predict that iPad 2 will be announced in March and ship in April, with a faster processor, more storage, a slimmer and lighter design and a front-facing camera, running iOS 4.3. He then thinkswill be announced at a developer event in March, for release in June, and then that iPad 3 will ship in September running iOS 5.1, alongside a new iPod touch.
What features will the iPad 3 have? How does a double-resolution 2,048x1,536-pixel display sound for starters?
Gruber is not the only Apple-watcher suggesting an earlier than expected debut for iPad 3 though. TechCrunch's own iOS man MG Siegler has claimed that, "A few days ago, we heard from a very good source that Apple was assembling the pieces for a 'big fall surprise'... We've now heard that this 'fall surprise' is related to this would-be iPad 3."
Siegler is also plain about the nature of his post. "My information on this isn't a guess... Apple's plan, at least right now, is to release another version of the iPad in the fall. That may change, but that is currently the plan."
One thing we'll say about this seemingly well-sourced speculation: it muddies the waters for anyone preparing to open their wallet for an iPad 2, if a few months down the line a new version will come out with a much better screen and other new features.