Whenever tech companies are about to release an updated version of a technology, prices on previous models usually get cut. That makes sense. There’s no better way to make room for the new than to clear the shelves of the old. And that’s why the industry keeps a sharp eye out for changes in retail, to see if there’s a broad pattern of price-slashing surrounding particular gadgets.

Given that, the iPad price-cutting moves just made by major retailers suggest that we may be on the verge of a new iPad and/or iPad mini.

Huh? That can’t be right. It has only been a little over five months since the mini and iPad refresh with Retina Display hit the market. This would mean Apple is moving toward a 6-month release cycle. That’s just madness.

Maybe so, and nothing’s certain yet, except for the fact that Best Buy pulled the trigger on clearance sales yesterday, as did Wal-Mart and MacMall. The retail outlets are racing to dump their supply of 3rd-gen iPads and iPad minis, with steep cuts of about 30 percent across the board.

So if you’re in the market for a new iPad, it might be a good idea to wait, just in case — unless you want one on the cheap and don’t mind if it’s on the way out.

UPDATE: For anyone who’s had trouble finding the deals on Best Buy, here’s the direct link to the retailer’s clearance site