The iPad 2 hasn’t even officially popped out of the Apple oven yet, but two well-respected sources are already suggesting that the third iteration of the Cupertino tablet may be touching down before the year is out.
The first to spark the rumours was tech-blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball, reacting to the news that the just-revealed HP TouchPad would not launch until late-summer:
“Summer feels like a long time away. If my theory is right, they’re 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.”
Though only speculative, personal theory, Gruber was then backed up by comments made by MG Siegler of Tech Crunch.
“A few days ago, we heard from a very good source that Apple was assembling the pieces for a ‘big fall surprise’,” he wrote. “While intriguing, that could obviously mean anything. But the ‘surprise’ part clearly means it’s something beyond the regular iPod/iTunes.
“We’ve now heard that this ‘fall surprise’ is related to this would-be iPad 3. We don’t have any more concrete information beyond that. But, as of right now, the plan is apparently to release one iteration of the iPad in the next few weeks. And then blow the doors open with another new version in the fall.”
It’s still only rumour and conjecture, but both Siegler and Gruber are respected voices in the blogosphere. With rumours of OLED patents landing seemingly too late for addition in any spring tablet launch, and with so many competing devices due to land over the course of the year, perhaps a 6-month cycle for iPad updates will replace the traditional annual one Apple usually employs.