Target Marks iPad 2 as Discontinued, New iPad Coming?

What ever happened to those rumors that claimed Apple would be releasing an iPad 3 (or iPad HD/Pro) this year? For a while there, pundits were claiming that the company was going to unveil a new tablet this Fall, alongside the iPhone 5.

But as with most tech gossip, the new iPad theory eventually lost traction. And then out of no where, TiPb kickstarted the debate again this morning by reporting that Target has been marking the iPad 2 as end of life…

End of life, or EOL, is a term used by retailers to mark a product as discontinued. And that’s exactly what a source told TiPb Target is doing right now with several models of Apple’s latest tablet:

“That implies that we will not be ordering more, which implies a new ipad is forthcoming rather soon (October-ish, say). Either that or Target’s exiting the iPad business, which seems unlikely. A lot of the cases have gone clearance too.”

Like the folks over at CultofMac, we’re a bit skeptical of the “new iPad” angle. It’s bound to be a merchandising mistake. In fact, Target getting out of the iPad business seems more likely than Apple announcing a new tablet.

The iPad 3 rumors fizzled out for a number of reasons. Apple’s latest tablet has only been on the market for 6 months, and it’s still selling rather well. Why risk angering recent buyers with a new model if you don’t have to?

On the other hand, the competition is heating up. Android-flavored tablets sporting 4G-compatibility and brighter, crisper displays have been flooding the market recently. Perhaps Apple doesn’t want to lose it’s stranglehold.

Regardless, the timing is interesting considering the recent reports of a Sprint-branded iPad in the works. Maybe Apple is looking to release new iPad models before the holidays. Or maybe this is all nothing more than a SKU change.

What do you think? Will we see a new iPad this year?