Like the Retina Display, the official announcement of the iPad 3 seems to be a lock. According to All Things D, Apple will hold a press conference of some sort during the first week of March. The rest of the Internet seems to agree, and based on when the iPad 2 was announced (March 2, 2011), this is a solid rumor to go off of.
If the iPad 3 is announced on or before March 9th – the Friday in the first full week of the month – it probably won’t ship right away. The usual buffer zone, which has been one or several weeks for previous iPad models, should apply here as well. If all falls in line with recent history, you should be able to buy an iPad 3 before April Fool’s Day.
…and then there’s the question of money. The iPad and iPad 2 had identical pricing structures:
|iPad and iPad 2 Models and Prices|
|Storage||16 GB||32 GB||64 GB|
So why would Apple change it up? They can offer a 64 GB WiFi+LTE iPad 3 for $829, and people will buy it, as they’ve shelled out the same money for previous 3G models. That said, we think the prices are coming down a peg; flash storage is getting cheaper every quarter, and with Asus offering the 64 GB WiFi Transformer Prime at $599, we can’t envision Apple offering half the storage in its WiFi model at the same price point. Regardless of where the WiFi pricing starts, the LTE models will still have a price premium attached. Will it be the same $130 premium that exists between WiFi and WiFi+3G today? We can’t imagine why not.
Final Prediction: The iPad 3 is announced on or before March 9th, and will ship by March 31st. The 32 GB WiFi model will sell for $499, while the 32 GB WiFi+LTE model will retail for $629.