Officially, Apple hasn't announced the second generation iPad. Plenty of leaks in the past have confirmed the existence to anyone who takes those kinds of leaks seriously, and more recently a new rumor suggests that production of the tablet has already begun. However, Apple still hasn't made the tablet official. Despite that fact, it looks like the third generation of the device is now being buzzed about around the Internet. John Gruber, the author of the popular website Daring Fireball was the center of attention late last night when he ran a short article (which he subsequently clarified later) that suggested the iPad 3 would launch in the Fall of 2011. But Gruber now believes that the second iPad launched in 2011 will be more like an iPad 2.5, and not an iPad 3. This morning, rumors suggest that it could be the iPad Mini that finally sees reality later this year.
Yesterday, Gruber dropped the "iPad 3 bomb" in a post regarding the just-announced HP TouchPad webOS-based tablet device. He nonchalantly wrote: "Summer feels like a long time away. If my theory is right, they're not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3." Some believed that this was a direct statement saying that Apple was planning on launching the iPad 3 by the end of 2011, while others believed that "late summer" could mean that Gruber was saying it was close to the iPad 3's launch in 2012. As aforementioned, Gruber clarified his position, saying that an iPad 2.5 variation could be launched in September.
According to a story published by CNET earlier this morning, the iPad Mini is the likely suspect in a big launch from Apple later this year. While Apple sticks to their yearly refreshes of products, and therefore launching an out-right successor to the iPad 2 just months after the launch doesn't make much sense, bringing a brand new product to market soon after does. And, let's face it, a 7-inch iPad has been a successful rumor for awhile now. And, as CNET points out, to think that Apple will just let the other companies have all the fun in that particular market for tablets just seems wrong in some way. A 7-inch iPad would be a good move for Apple, as people seem to like that form factor. Will Apple do it? Only time will tell. But, for now, let's just focus on the iPad 2, shall we?