A few days ago, John Gruber, from Daring Fireball, explained why he believes the iPad 3 will come later this year; April, he says, is too early to launch a product that has turned out to be as critical for Apple as the iPad. This, Gruber adds, has led to "whispers and rumours".
His gut feeling that the iPad will move to a September Release, even if it means launching two products from the same family in the same year, within four months of each other. He expects the iPad 3 to ship in September at the annual iPod event with iOS 5.1.
The iPad 3, he explains might not be an actual next generation model, but one that is different enough from the first one to warrant an "official" release in September. The differences are likely to be significantly more perceptible than those between the iPhone 4 GSM and CDMA versions.
The flaw in Gruber's logic is that he compares the iPad to the iPod, which is understandable because many, including us, have compared the iPad to a giant iPod Touch.
New iPod models almost always come in September and are timed to reach full production for the holiday season with many being offered as gift.
The iPad is different for two reasons; (a) a significant number of the tablets are sold (and subsidised) via mobile phone operators, a process where seasonality is less important (b) the iPad is increasingly being considered as enterprise grade hardware - and is being pushed as Apple as such.
Our hunch is that if Apple release another iPad in September, it will be a complement rather a replacement for the iPad 2.