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iPad 2 3G ands Wi-Fi shortages hint at approaching iPad 3 release

The Apple iPad 3 (or whatever it’ll be called) looks increasingly likely to see an early March release. Alongside everything else we’ve heard on this, here’s another morsel of fat to chew ahead of any kind of official fanfare; looks like there’s a shortage of 3G and Wi-Fi versions of the iPad 2 here in the UK. According to 9to5 Mac where were first heard about this, Orange and Carphone Warehouse are ‘constraining’ sales of the 3G versions of the iPad 2.

Orange’s site says that its ‘out of stock’ on both black and white 32GB and white 64GB 3G iPad 2s. Carphone Warehouse meanwhile is saying that it’s got no 3G iPad 2s save for the black 64GB edition.

Three’s site is also showing that 16GB 3G and Wi-Fi iPad 2s in white are unavailable (but everything else is in stock) while O2’s site is just offering data plans for iPad 2’s, not the tablets themselves.

Vodafone’s site isn’t showing any signs of stock reduction and neither is Apple’s UK online store. The 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 on Apple’s site shows a ‘shipping in 1-3 business days’ message but everything else is ‘in stock’.

Wi-Fi-only iPad 2s however are in abundance, fuelling speculation that the 3G-less iPad 2’s will be kept on when the iPad 3 goes on sale as a kind of low-end option to the inevitable 3G and Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi-only iPad 3s. We’d expect the inevitable price drop once the iPad 3 hits the shelves too, hopefully £299 for a 16GB-er.

It’s also thought that the radios of the 3G versions of the iPad 3 may feature merged GSM and CDMA chipsets, allowing for one version of the product to be sold worldwide, as has been done with the iPhone 4S. No word yet on that ‘early March’ announcement from Apple either; it’s looking increasingly likely though that we’ll see some sort of official activity very soon.

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