Apple may be planning the iPad 3 announcement for late February in advance of an early March release, according to Japanese tech site MacOkatara. The Chinese New Year was earlier than usual this year, allowing for an earlier start to the iPad’s production. This in turn allows for an earlier release of the device.
An early March release for the iPad 3 would be the earliest iPad launch yet. The original iPad was announced in late January 2010 and released in early April, while the iPad 2 was announced in early March and released later in the same month. A late-February announcement/early-March release continues the trend of a narrowing window between announcement and launch (which we’ve also see with the iPhone), and is not so early as to be unbelievable (unlike some other rumors that have popped up in recent months).
At any rate, the iPad 3 will certainly be coming out sometime in the next couple of months. Look for more concrete information to surface the closer we get to the actual launch.