Apple's (AAPL) new iPad 3 may now be just days away.
Sources are telling iMore's Rene Ritchie -- and others are confirming -- that Apple will introduce its latest tablet on March 7.
Before diving into the rumored specs, let's take Apple's marketing department to task.
In a promotional email sent out earlier this month, the world's most valuable company was pitching iPad 2 as a great gift for Valentine's Day.
In the email -- with "iPad 2: A valentine they'll open every day" as a catchy subject header -- Apple suggests that a new iPad is more romantic than the traditional gifts of flowers, jewelry, or chocolates in heart-shaped boxes.
"With apps, movies, books, and more they'll adore, iPad 2 will delight them on Valentine's Day -- and every day after," reads the marketing push.
Is it fair for Apple to be tugging at emotional heartstrings for a device that will be dated just three weeks later? A dozen roses may not last that long, but no one's buying a $499 flower arrangement.
Marketing Never Sleeps
Apple introduced the original iPad in April 2009. The iPad 2 followed in Feb. 2010. Obviously, a company with annual installments can't afford to ease up on the promotions just because something better is around the corner. There is always something better around the corner when it comes to Apple.
However, the timing of this particular introduction is noteworthy. Some analysts believe that when Apple introduces the iPad 3 in three weeks that it will continue to offer the entry-level iPad 2 model at a lower price.
We're talking about a potential price cut of at least $100 on the very iPad 2 that "they'll adore" today.
The iPad 3 is going to raise the stakes
If the early buzz is true, next month's iPad 3 is going to be amazing. A better display and a higher performance quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip are likely. There may even be a camera upgrade similar to what Apple did in the transition from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) will offer the iPad with 4G connectivity, something that isn't even available for the current generation of iPhones.
Apple is likely to stick to its $499 pricing for the entry-level Wi-Fi model, opening the door for the iPad 2 to see its price drop to $399, if not lower.
No one is going to look a gift iPad 2 in the mouth on Valentine's Day -- but true love means not being afraid to ask your sweetheart for a receipt just in case.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.