iPad 3 by the Holidays? Rumor Resurfaces

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Here we go again. A new rumor suggests that Apple is working on a third-generation iPad, with a better display and support for 4G LTE networks — and that it’ll be ready by Christmas.

The report by Asian research firm CLSA, mentioned in the Wall Street Journal‘s MarketBeat blog, cites “checks,” which usually refers to sources in the supply chain.

This would be a completely wacky rumor if it hadn’t already popped up once before. In February, Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber laid out a theory in which Apple would release an iPad 3 in September, or perhaps an “iPad 2 Pro” or “iPad 2 HD,” sporting a Retina display similar to that of the iPhone 4. Those were just guesses, but Gruber tends to be accurate with Apple predictions and has solid sources within the company.

Later, DigiTimes deflated Gruber’s rumor with its own rumor. Yeah, this stuff gets a little messy. I’d need at least a couple more rumors in the affirmative to start believing, especially considering that LTE has earned a reputation as a battery hog, and battery life is a cornerstone of the iPad experience.

What seems obvious, at least, is that Apple doesn’t need to push out a new iPad this year. The iPad 2 is still on backorder at Apple’s online store, which means the company is selling them as quickly as it can make them. We’ve yet to see a competitor pose a serious sales threat, and most have been unable to rival the iPad 2 on design. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, which launches this month, will be the first 10-inch tablet to have a size and weight similar to the iPad 2. If the holidays roll around and there’s no iPad 3 to speak of, Apple will do just fine.