Apple iPad 3: 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Buy It at Launch

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's iPad 3 could launch as early as March, but jumping at buying the device then might not be such a good idea. Tablet buyers will have lots of interesting alternatives to buying an iPad 3 whenever it ships.

Speculation abounds thatApple will be announcing and launching the iPad 3 at some point in the next few months. Some reports claim it could happen as early as February, while others sayit's more likely to happen in March or April. Still others claim we might not see the iPad 3 until much later in the year, due to some issues with the device's display and a change in launch cycles at Apple headquarters.

Of course, Apple isn't saying what's really happening, and the company has stopped short of even admitting that it will introduce an iPad 3 in 2012. But it's not a stretch to say that it will, indeed, be hitting store shelves this year. It's also not a stretch to say that for the vast majority of consumers, buying it on launch day might not be the best idea.

Yes, there will be some Apple fans and early adopters who will disagree with that logic, but there is quite a bit going on in the tablet market right now. What's more, there are really innovative products that are also scheduled to ship this year that could attract consumers.

Read on to find out why you shouldn't buy the iPad 3 at launch:

1. It might not be a major update

Each year before a new iPhone or iPad is announced, the rumor mill suggests Apple is building in major enhancements to the new model. But in the last year or so, that just hasn't been the case, as Apple has shown off iterative updates, rather than revolutionary upgrades. In that case there's a good chancethe iPad 3 won't be a major update. If it's not, would it really be best to invest at least $500 in a new device that, if you're already an iPad owner, might not do much more than the device you have now?

2. The iPad 2 might be available at a cheaper price

Apple is widely expected to continue to sell the iPad 2 after the iPad 3 is announced. Like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, the company might sell the iPad 2 at a discount and then start the iPad 3 out at the standard $499 price tag. The iPad 3 might be a highly desirable tablet, but considering the iPad 2 is worth buying in its own right, why not save a couple bucks and buy last year's model, rather than this year's?

3. Wait for Android tablets

Although it's something Apple fans wouldn't even consider, some consumers might want to see what kind of Android tablets are launched this year before they decide to buy the iPad 3. Sure, many of them might not appeal to consumer desire, but there's a chance that some just might. In fact, one of the most anticipated rumor devices is a Google-branded tablet. Find out what that's all about before buying the iPad 3.

4. Windows 8 is looming large

Windows has so far been unable to capture any tablet market share. But toward the end of this year, Microsoft plans to launch Windows 8, and slates running that operating system will follow close on its heels. Will they be high-quality options? Will they fall short? For now, there's no telling. But waiting to see what those devices are like could be the best move before buying the iPad 3.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...