In a report that recently hit the Web, 9to5Mac notes that iPad 3 models might have already started leaving China’s Foxconn factories for the United States. The report also suggests that preorders for the iPad could open as early as March 7, while a second major announcement (potentially a new Apple TV device) may also be planned.
First, we mentioned that iPad 3 models have already started leaving China. The source for this piece of information is a shipping document, which apparently appeared on the Weibo social network and WeiPhone forums (and was highlighted by Apple.pro).
The WeiPhone forum posted said:
Our company started undertake a load of top-secured cargo. The owner has extreme requirements for the security. In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot.
Apple’s iPad 3 is expected to be announced on March 7, and 9to5Mac’s sources note that preorders for the iPad could launch on this day. In the past, preorders for a new product have launched a few days after it’s been announced, meaning a March 7 announcement would more likely give a preorder launch date of March 10, or soon after.
The website also suggests that Apple might launch a new Apple TV product at its iPad 3 special event. Already, we’ve told you second-generation Apple TV stock is low and that stores haven’t been receiving shipments, suggesting that a product refresh is in-bound. In 9to5Mac’s article, the website notes that it has heard Apple is planning to launch two new products in March, with the second product being unspecified. If Apple TV stock remains as low as it has been, it’s likely that we’ll see a third-generation Apple TV device launch with the iPad 3, potentially packing Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Finally, 9to5Mac adds:
Additionally, our sources are pointing to the discontinuation of all iPad 2 WiFi + 3G models and all iPad 2 WiFi-only models (except the black and white 16GB units – at least initially) when the iPad 3 launches. This would refute rumors of Apple launching the Retina Display-packing iPad 3 as an extension of the iPad 2 line, and would seem to back up rumors of Apple keeping the 16 GB iPad 2 around at a lower price point. This iPad 2 model discontinuation information is based on Apple product supply checks.
Here’s hoping Apple announces the iPad 3 soon! As always, we’ll keep you posted – so check back with us.