Rumor: iPad 3 to Hit Stores in February

iPad 1 (left) vs iPad 2

Apple’s just coming down from the announcement and subsequent release of the iPhone 4S, so now the rumor mill has moved on to speculate on something else: the iPad 3. Citi analyst Richard Gardner in a research note says that the iPad 3 could be available as soon as February.

It’s worth noting that the original iPad was released in April 2010, and the iPad 2 in March of this year. A February release date for the iPad 3 would fit in this schedule perfectly, although Apple doesn’t always follow “schedules,” especially those made up by pundits.

Gardner also says that the iPad 3 will come with Retina display, with twice the screen resolution of previous models. “There do not appear to be any significant technical hurdles remaining” to prevent a launch of a high-resolution iPad, Business Insider quoted him as saying.

Gardner’s release-date prediction may be on the early side; most analysts are saying March or April. But it’s not as absurd as it seems, considering all the attention Amazon’s Kindle Fire is getting with its $199 price tag, or even the upcoming Novo7, the first tablet to feature Android Ice Cream Sandwich, priced at a ridiculous $99.

Although Apple has said that it’s not too concerned about these cheap tablets, it’s still likely to stay ahead of the pack by giving its users the best technology in a timely manner. While a February release date may or may not be true, the company probably isn’t too pleased with reports that may sabotage its iPad 2 Christmas sales.

Photo credit: Robert Scoble

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