iPad 3 plan loading

Rumor has it that the picture you see above is a plane being loaded with one of the first shipments of the iPad 3 bound for the United States.  While exciting, less thrilling are the rumors of new prices.

Apparently Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo has been lighting up this weekend with all sorts of iPad 3 rumors and images. The picture of the plane you see in this post is said to be one of the flights listed on a list of chartered flights that Apple.pro obtained from a microblog post that has now been removed.

iPad 3 flights from Chengdu

The flights are originating from Chengdu, a location of one of the Foxconn plants that works on assembling iPads.  In total there are six high security cargo flights said to be scheduled between February 26 and March 9, which lines up nicely with the rumored March 7 announcement date.

In the realm of less thrilling news is another document that showed up on Sina Weibo that reportedly shows pricing comparisons between the iPad 2 and iPad 3.  From left to right it has the model name, the iPad 2 U.S. price, the iPad 3 U.S. price and the converted “iPad 3 RMB equivalent price.”

iPad 3 rumored prices

If true, it shows that Wi-Fi models are going up by $80 across the board while 3G units will be increasing by a slightly less $70.  While the flights are somewhat believable, the pricing seems very out of line with Apple’s track record of offering you more value for your dollar with the updates of products.  Typically, prices either hold steady or drop slightly, but it is fairly rare that they increase them.  Additionally, part of the success of the iPad and iPad 2 has been that introductory price of $499, losing that pricing barrier could end up meaning a significant loss of market share, so, for now, we’re taking this with a very definite grain of salt.

Anyway you slice it, iPad 3 rumors are reaching a fever pitch, and if all goes according to plan, we are just a little over a week from finding out the real details of the next iteration of the market leading tablet.

[via MacRumors]