The next version of Apple's iPad tablet may not be the iPad 3. FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger claims Cupertino will instead release an iPad 2 Plus, or something along those lines.
"There are some indications from the supply chain that Apple may look to introduce an 'iPad 2 Plus' device as they put out request for quotes from various component suppliers for this marginally different device," Berger wrote in a note to clients. "We now hear that component makers have received request-for-quotes (RFQs) from Apple for an 'iPad 2 Plus', though no production schedule has yet been confirmed with suppliers."
Berger says there is reason to believe the new device may be slated for a late 2011 launch. The iPad 2 was announced and started shipping in March 2011. In other words, Apple would be releasing an iPad 2 successor less than a year later.
Maybe this is why Apple doesn't want to call the device "iPad 3." The company may be looking to limit the backlash it will get for making the iPad 2 obsolete so quickly. Regardless of the name though, many people will likely quickly pick it up, just because it's new. It makes great business sense to release a new iPad in time for the holiday season.
Earlier this month, we learned a new iPad had just recently been added to the production schedule of Apple's supply chain. Just like for the new iPhone, small volumes are expected in August, with units ramping up in September and October. The new iPad is supposed to be even thinner and lighter, with a panel resolution increase.
This isn't the first time that Apple has given an odd name to a successor. The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. Instead of releasing the iPhone 2, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G on June 9, 2008. Next, the iPhone 3GS was announced on June 8, 2009 and arrived on June 19, 2009.
The iPhone 4 was announced on June 7, 2010 and released on June 24, 2010. It's thus not clear if the next iPhone will be have some variation of "iPhone 4" or if it will be called the iPhone 5.