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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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Alec Liu's profile photoSeth Fiegerman's profile photo
 
Keepin' it real. But how long will Apple holdout? A 7" tablet is something people clearly want. Do they really want to cede that entire market to Amazon, especially when they unveil a refreshed Fire next year? With Jobs gone, will Cook make more 'businessy' type decisions?

For me, there's a telling gap in Apple's product line because there is absolutely nothing compelling about a $400 64g iPod Touch.

In the end, you're probably right, but this is the nature of Apple's own beast. They've created the market and now people want more. Jobs was good at saying "no." And I'm sure his spiritual presence at Apple is pretty good at saying "no," too but for how long? At one point compromises will be made. Maybe next year?

I really want a 7" tablet, can you tell? ;x
 
Honestly, I'd like them to put out a 7 inch tablet too just because I think they could make something like the Kindle Fire but that is actually worth using. I'm not sure if they will ever do that though, but my guess is that it won't be until at least 2013 when Apple launches its first iPad product line not under the instruction of Steve Jobs. Whether or not they do it though will probably depend on what Apple's share of the tablet market is by mid-year after releasing the iPad 3 and how much pressure the company feels from shareholders to change things up. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep using my stupid Nook Color.
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