Unverified iPad 3 Rumors: Price List Suggests Price Hike Over iPad 2, Shipments to U.S. En Route?

Over the past several days, several unverified rumors about the iPad 3 have been showing up on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, offering tidbits of information about Apple's plans for the device.

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One post seems to depict a price comparison between the iPad 2 and iPad 3 possibly revealing a price increase for the iPad 3. The headings are labled left to right: "Apple iPad Model", "iPad 2 US Price", "iPad 3 US Price", "iPad 3 RMB equivalent price". The final column is calculated on the exchange rate.

The iPad 2 prices are in U.S. dollars at the present pricing, which starts at $499 for the 16GB+WiFi model. The iPad 3, meanwhile, is listed at a starting price of $579 for the $16GB+WiFi model and goes as high as $899 for the 64GB+WiFi+3G model. According to the chart, the iPad 3 costs $80 more for the equivalent Wi-Fi models, and $70 more for the equivalent 3G models.

ipad 3 flights chengdu
A second post from Sina Weibo [via Apple.pro] shares an apparently now-removed image from WeiPhone depicting what is claimed to be details on a series of high-security cargo flights from Chengdu, China, where Foxconn has iPad assembly plants, to Shanghai. The six flights, which are taking place between yesterday and March 9, are said to be part of itineraries moving iPad 3 units to the United States, with three flights ultimately headed to Chicago's O'Hare airport, two headed to Los Angeles, and one headed to New York's Kennedy airport. A separate flight on March 5 appears to be planned to position units through Tokyo's Narita airport.

ipad 3 plane loading
9to5Mac also posts a photo of what one Sina Weibo user claims is iPad 3 units being loaded onto a cargo plane for transport.

With all of the reports coming from WeiPhone forums and Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, it's hard to tell if they have any credibility. But it seems reasonable to believe that Apple might be preparing to stage supplies of the iPad 3 at various locations in order to be ready for a quick launch following an introduction as rumored for March 7.

On the pricing front, Apple is believed to be upgrading the iPad 3 to a 2048x1536 "Retina" display, which could account for some price increase to the iPad 3. It's also not clear if the usage of "3G" in the chart means that the iPad 3 will be 3G-only, or if it was just used for the price comparison. The iPad 3 has also been rumored to be getting LTE (4G) data on both Verizon and AT&T in the U.S.

Related Roundup: iPad
Tag: Weibo
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)
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Top Rated Comments

ChrisTX Avatar
162 months ago
Not liking the idea of a price increase. :(
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saladinos Avatar
162 months ago
So, you all want:

- A bleeding-edge retina display
- In a shell no more than 1mm thicker than an iPad 2
- With LTE
- Made by people paid a respectable wage
- Made by people with an appreciating currency

And yet any price increase is a deal breaker?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lesser Evets Avatar
162 months ago
Pisser.

Rumors this crappy must be true. I'd consider the price hike fine if they doubled the memory. The meager memory is going to get cramped with HD video stored on there. Guess they want iCloud to be used more.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jamesryanbell Avatar
162 months ago
I can deal with a modest price increase (although I don't prefer it of course). What I'm kinda bummed about is the fact that no 128GB model was listed.

"You really thought there would be a 128GB model?"

I *expected* it...not just "thought there might be". It's time to upgrade storage specs - and yes, that's even with iCloud.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
borgqueenx Avatar
162 months ago
no 128gb? thats just sad :( :( :(
oh well then 64gb it is....

i just hope this is false :D
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
r.j.s Avatar
162 months ago
Horrible news. Especially with a $100 android tablet being released in China recently. Apple is such a rip off. I wish I didn't like their stuff so much.

There is no way a $100 tablet can compare to an iPad, and Apple doesn't even try to please the market segment looking for tablets that cheap.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)