iPad 3 release date: Delayed, it's rumored

iPad 3

The iPad 3 release date is not yet known for sure. It's pretty clear that it'll be announced on March 7, but facts about its availability are still thin on the ground. Some are even pointing to a delay of 7-14 days. While Jonny's indisposed, let's see if we can't shed some light, in The Long View...

Update: 'iPad 3' or 'iPad HD'? It could be the latter.

By Richi Jennings.

[It's] the same day of the week Apple used to launch the original tablet in 2010 and last year's iPad 2. ... [The] invitation...shows part of an iPad screen...[and] hints that the tablet will not sport a physical home button, as have earlier iPads.
Apple has not said anything about...when it will go on sale.

Ay, there's the rub. Can we rush out and buy it next week, or will there be a delay while we wait for stocks to arrive on a slow boat from China?

Peter Smith reckons that Best Buy knows that it's being released sooner rather than later:

The latest evidence to support a near-future launch is the news that Best Buy is cutting prices on the iPad 2...to clear out inventory to make room for the new model. The cut is $50 across the board.

Initially, Mark Gurman also reckoned that there will be no delay between launch and release date. However, it seems he's changed his mind:

Sources are now saying that...shipments are already landing at ports of multiple countries around the world, so expect...availability...likely within one to two weeks after the announcement.

Yes, on first blush, that seems like a non-sequitur: Gurman's conclusion doesn't seem to follow. But think back to the iPad 2's launch. A year ago, U.S. retail channel stocks were woefully insufficient to meet initial demand.

Apple couldn't meet iPad 2 demand for several weeks. Shipment delays for online orders peaked at over a month. This is not a situation that Apple wishes to repeat.

Hence, the company is likely to be stockpiling the device for two or three weeks. This isn't important simply to prevent last year's piss-poor-PR caused by unhappy, empty-handed fanbois. It's also necessary to stop defections of the faithful to the new breed of Android tablets and Windows Ultrabooks.

Of course, we're all blithely blathering on about this mythical "iPad 3" device, but there's no confirmation that this is, in fact, the name of the product. In January, we were wondering if there's going to be an "iPad 2S". Now, we see evidence of an "iPad HD", as reported by Jesus Diaz and backed up by evidence from a Romanian blogger known as Zaone.

Diaz got a tipoff from one Michael Fonfara, who said that Belkin's latest product list shows cases for an "iPad HD (3)". Zaone, points to Web analytics for his forum showing a steady trickle of hits from an "iPad HD" device, in a way that's hard to spoof.

How will you contain your excitement? Comment below...

Richi Jennings, blogger at large

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. As well as The Long View, he's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards on behalf of IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, Encircle richij on Google Plus, or just use good old email: TLV@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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