Let's get real about the iPad 3 rumors for a minute: Whatever comes out next year is something that was initially brainstormed while Steve Jobs was still alive and Jobs was on record as hating the idea of introducing a 7-inch tablet both because it's harder to type on and because it would splinter the app market (as we've seen with Android.) Jobs was also not the type to use cheaper parts to cut the price tag of a product or to introduce two versions of the same mobile product at different price points.

So while all the speculating is fun to read and makes for clicky headlines, it's far more likely that the 2012 iPad lineup won't be much of a surprise. If Apple stays true to form, the new iPad will likely be announced in March and released shortly after. The iPad 3 will still be 10 inches and sell for the usual $499, but Apple's real pricing advantage will come from the mark downs on its older models. Again, staying true to form, I expect Apple will drop the price of the iPad 2 to $399 and the price of the first generation to $299, making it much more competitive with other cheaper tablets on the market.
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