Apple will announce the iPad 3 release date during the special iPad event on March 7th.
Because it is the third iPad, we think Apple will call it the iPad 3, but the new device could also be called the iPad HD because of the rumored high-resolution Retina Display. When you see us talk about the iPad 3 release date and the iPad HD release date, we’re talking about the same device.
The iPad HD is expected to bring a collection of new features including a faster processor, HD Retina Display and an improved camera.
Based on the prospect of a better display and a better camera most of the GottaBeMobile staff plan to purchase the iPad HD on release day. Many of us have already sold our old iPad 2 for top dollar, or made plans to pass it on to family members.
iPad 3 Release Date
Apple will announce the iPad 3 release date on March 7th, when Tim Cook and Apple executives take the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific,/ 1PM Eastern.
Just because Apple hasn’t announced the iPad HD release date, doesn’t mean we don’t have a good idea of when the iPad HD will be available to purchase.
Apple prefers to launch products like the iPad on Fridays, but the first iPad was released on a Saturday, so we have a number of potential iPad 3 or iPad HD release dates in March. Apple typically allows 7 to 10 days between the announcement of a new iPad and the in store release.
We’ve heard from one source that claims Best Buy will receive the new iPad shipments on March 9th, allowing for a Saturday march 10th iPad 3 release date.
While that is a possible release day, it is much more likely that Apple will choose March 16th as the iPad 3 release date.
Apple moved the opening of the Highland Village Apple Store in Houston up a day, to March 16th. The thinking is that Apple doesn’t want to miss out on another store to sell the iPad 3 or iPad HD.
UPDATE: More evidence points to the March 16th iPad 3 release date with special events at local Apple stores.
March 16th is also a likely release date based on Apple history. In addition to a preference for Friday as an iPad release date, March 16th is 9 days after the iPad Event taking place on March 7th. The iPad 2 release date was 9 days after the iPad 2 event.
The 9 day lag between announcement and release day allows Apple to keep the iPad HD name and specs under wraps, and still move supplies into placement at Apple Stores and other retail locations for the iPad release day event.
If I had to put money on the exact time and date of the iPad 3 release, I would pick March 16th at 5 PM.
If you plan to buy an iPad HD on release day, you’ll want to arrive before noon local time to make sure that you get a place in line. When we interviewed people waiting for the iPad in line on release day we found that many had waited since early morning.
iPad 3 Price
We fully expect that Apple will keep the iPad 3 or iPad HD price the same as it currently is, with a starting price of $499. That’s good news for shoppers who want the basic 16GB WiFi only model.
There is no price difference between the black iPad and the white iPad, but if you plan to sell an iPad 3, the white models tend to fetch a higher price on the secondary market because fewer are available at launch.
If you don’t get an iPad 3 on release day, you will have to wait weeks to find one in stock or pay a premium for an iPad 3 on Craigslist or eBay.
Your best bet is to pay with a credit card because it can double your warranty. Call your credit card company to make sure your card has this benefit. I also suggest bringing a backup card or cash in case the card fails, so you don’t waste an entire day in line.
iPad 3 Pre Orders
Apple is not expected to offer iPad 3 or iPad HD pre orders before the release date. Apple offered pre orders for the first iPad, but not for the iPad 2.
If Apple does plan on iPad 3 preorders, we’ll find out when to order on March 7th. Typically Apple starts pre orders at midnight Pacific, which is 3 AM Eastern, so you’ll need to stay up late if they offer pre orders.
Assuming pre ordering the iPad HD is an option, Apple would likely pick Friday March 9th to start the pre order process.
When you pre order apple products you normally get the item on the official release day, but one or two always manage to arrive a day early.
Where Can I Buy an iPad 3 on Release Day?
The Apple Store will be the best place to go for an iPad 3 on release day, but there are other locations.
If you can’t drive to an Apple Store, Best Buy will be your best bet for a WiFi model, while AT&T and Verizon stores will likely have limited stock of 3G or 4G iPad 3 models.
iPad 3 Features
Right now, we expect that Apple will announce a Retina Display for the iPad 3 or iPad HD, with a 2048 X 1536 resolution. Teh video below, from iFixit, shows off a replacement Retina Display, which may be part of the new iPad HD.
It is also a given that Apple will include a processor bump, but we don’t know if it will be a new A6 quad-core processor or an upgraded A5 processor, similar to the one in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.
As for looks, the iPad 3 or iPad HD, may look very similar to the iPad 2. The video below shows off a partially assembled iPad, which M.I.C Gadget claims is the new iPad that Apple will unveil on March 7th at 10 AM Pacific. The iPad 3 hands on video shows off a home button, front and rear casing.
Stay tuned for the GottaBeMobile iPad coverage on Wednesday March 7th,