iPad 3 Rumours: Release Date, Prices and Features

One of the remaining mysteries ahead of the iPad 3 launch next week are the prices and configurations. If you don’t like surprises we have good news.

Apple iPad 3 prices aren't expected to rise from the iPad 2 version, meaning the range will be $499 to $829 depending on specs. Other expected features include faster Internet reception, possibly on 4G; a better processor and camera; and Siri, the voice-activated "assistant" that debuted on the iPhone 4S. Photo: Guilherme Schasiepen/Flickr

With three days to go before Apple unveils its latest iPad, 9to5Mac has apparently debunked a rumor that Cupertino’s new tablet would come with a $70-80 price increase.

iPad pricing is going to be the same across the board as the current iPad 2 models which should be no big surprise given Apple’s history – they rarely raise prices.

Even better, some countries with currencies doing better than the US dollar should expect to see marginal drops in prices.

One of 9to5Mac’s sources tipped them off that the prices for the new iPad will remain consistent with first two versions, ranging from $499 for 16GB Wi-Fi to $829 for 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G.

According to CNet, Apple is also rumoured to be launching an 8GB iPad that’ll be cheaper than existing models, but we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see if that comes to pass.

As we will to see if Apple launches an updated Apple TV, and whether the iPad 3 looks exactly the same as the iPad 2. A smaller iPad is also rumoured to follow in the autumn.

According to USA Today, analysts expect to see some improvements in the new iPad.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks the iPad will have the sharp Retina display seen on the iPhone, to the point where Apple will call this model “iPad HD.”

iPad 3 is also supposed to have faster Internet reception, on 4G wireless networks. “This could be Apple’s first 4G product,” says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Needham & Co.

It will feature improved processor and camera. The same higher-resolution camera first introduced on the iPhone 4S in October.

We also expect to see the Siri “personal digital assistant,” which offers computer-generated spoken help, as first seen on the iPhone 4S.

Apple has sold about 55 million iPads to date, and Wednesday’s rollout of the iPad 3 has analysts predicting a milestone by the end of the year: 100 million sold, reports Newser.

“People have been waiting to get the new iPad,” says Shaw Wu, an analyst with Sterne, Agee. “There’s real pent-up demand.”

He predicts sales of 55 million iPads this year alone; analyst Gene Munster thinks it’s higher, at 60 million.

There’s real pent-up demand,” says one industry analyst. Another thinks tablets will actually outsell computers in the next few years, with Apple’s version leading the way.

The strength of iPad sales along with those of iPhones and Macintosh computers helped power Apple to a market valuation of $500 billion, a feat few other companies have accomplished.

Cisco, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Intel and Microsoft all once reached that level but have since fallen back.

The current total tablet market is 75 million, says Munster, and includes models based on Google’s Android mobile operating system such as those from Toshiba and Samsung, the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet.

Of course, final confirmation of this and all the other iPad 3 rumors will have to wait until Apple’s official announcement at 10AM PST, on Wednesday, March 7th.

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