The iPad 2 isn't even official yet, but already the speculation over the third-generation version of the Apple tablet has begun in earnest. Prompted by Daring Fireball's John Gruber predicting that HP might struggle with the Touchpad because "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," TechCrunch sources stepped up with the supposedly solid news that there would be two iPad refreshes in 2011: the iPad 2, imminently, and then the iPad 3 this fall.
Actual specs of the iPad 3 are shrouded in mystery, though there's talk of the Retina Display originally tipped for the iPad 2 making its appearance in the third-gen model. Whether there's enough time in-between the two versions for Apple to push down the margins on that expensive display hardware remains to be seen.
Gruber later went on to clarify that his comments about the iPad 3 were speculative, but he does maintain that Apple likely intends to bring forward the third-gen model's release from early 2012 to more in line with the iPod refresh cycle in September. "They’re not going to leave any gas in the tank pushing the iPad hardware specs forward as fast as they can" he concludes.