Rumor: New iPad, not iPad 3, in the works

The next version of Apple’s iPad tablet line may not be called the iPad 3.

That is the word from analyst Craig Berger and FBR Capital Markets. In a research note, Berger wrote, “There are some indications from the supply chain that Apple may look to introduce an ‘iPad 2 Plus’ device as they put out request for quotes from various component suppliers for this marginally different device.”

“We now hear that component makers have received request-for-quotes (RFQs) from Apple for an ‘iPad 2 Plus’, though no production schedule has yet been confirmed with suppliers,” he continued, though he said there is reason to believe it may be slated for a late 2011 launch. That would be just about a half year after the launch of the iPad 2.

It is perhaps that tight window that is preventing Apple from calling it the iPad 3, to prevent any considerable backlash from making its current tablet obsolete.

The naming confusion isn’t an issue isolated to Apple’s tablet products. The company also caused some head-scratching when instead of launching the iPhone 4, it launched a new version of the iPhone 3G – the iPhone 3GS.

There’s also speculation that the next iPhone will be some variation on the name ‘iPhone 4’ instead of the iPhone 5.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter that much. Each new release will make the current product fall off the store shelves. Releasing a new iPad in time for the holiday season would make great business sense, and could give Apple a huge boost against other tablet manufacturers who were hoping to capitalize on that time frame later this year.