iPad 3 rumors point to February release date

Latest iPad 3 rumors suggest the Apple tablet will arrive a month ahead of schedule. But will these iPad 3 rumors derail Apple's holiday sales?

The Apple iPad 3 could hit in March. Here, the iPad 2.

The original iPad launched in April of 2010. The iPad 2 launched in March of 2011. And the iPad 3 will launch – right on schedule, more or less – in February of 2012. So says Citi analyst Richard Gardner, who recently penned a note to investors, forecasting the arrival of the new iPad, and with it, a screen sporting more than double the resolution of the previous model. 

"[T]here do not appear to be any significant technical hurdles remaining" to releasing the iPad 3, Gardner wrote, according to Business Insider. As the eWeek team points out, the timing certainly lines up, in more than one way: The iPad is due for a major overhaul (the iPad and iPad 2 were pretty similar devices, save the processing power) and the iPad must be able to fend off the onslaught of all the Android tablets undoubtedly launching in 2012. 

But hey, when the new iPad hits the market, what will Apple do about the old iPad?

Well, over at PC World, Jeff Bertolucci wonders if Apple might keep the iPad 2 around. "Apple may decide to copy its iPhone strategy in the tablet market, an approach that may appeal to price-sensitive buyers unwilling to pay $500 or more for an iPad," Bertolucci writes. "One option would be to price the iPad 2 aggressively – a starting price at $299, for example – while pricing the higher-end iPad 3 at $499 and up." 

The iPad 2 launched earlier this year amid a serious media frenzy. Reviews were generally kind – one critic described the device as "technology from the near future" – and sales were big, pretty much right from the get-go. By one estimate, Apple could sell an astonishing 40 million iPad units by the end of the year, leaving all of its competitors, even the feisty Kindle Fire, way back in the rear-view. 

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