Looking for iPad 3? Expect to wait until late 2012

by Howard Wolinsky

A Broadway producer once said that it wasn’t enough for him to succeed, but his rivals must fail.

That seems to be the approach Apple is taking in the tab world.

Apple’s iPad 1 and 2 has been dominating the tab world as competitors one-by-one have tumbled, stumbled and flopped.

Hence, even though Apple has prototypes -- plural -- waiting in the wings for next-gen tabs, it isn’t feeling pressure to put iPad 3 on a fast track.

There have been rumors about high-resolution versions, pro versions and radical new designs.

Neil Hughes reports in Apple Insider: “Apple reportedly has prototypes for its third-generation iPad already circling in its supply chain, but no new model is expected to arrive this year as a true second-place tablet has yet to emerge.”

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said in a note to investors: “In our view, Apple should be in no rush,” he said. “The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012.”

Mark Peckham at Techland called this: “some more captain-obvious thinking.” “If you were sitting on 68.3% of the tablet market (according to the latest 2Q 2011 IDC report) and your nearest competitor (that would be Google’s Android) fell from 34% to 26.8% market share during the same period, where’s the fire?” he asked.

Peckham added: “In the meantime, just sit back and watch empires crumble—like RIM’s, after the company announced (Thursday) that its Blackberry PlayBook sales had plummeted from 500,000 to just 200,000, and analysts downgraded the company to “underperform.” Ouch.

This contrasts with over 9 million iPads sold in the last quarter.

Motorola Mobility and its Xoom haven’t zoomed. Maybe Google has some tricks up its sleeve once it takes over?

And Moskowitz expects Sony’s tab entry to flop: “To us, Sony's tablet lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly… (The Sony) tablet runs on the Android O/S, which has failed to garner as much interest in tablets as it has in smartphones."