CNET has learned that Apple's next tablet will be called the iPad HD instead of the iPad 3.
A developer who's previously provided reliable information with respect to things Apple and otherwise tells us the next iPad uses the HD moniker instead of going with "iPad 3."
That matches up well with a report from Gizmodo last week (and an item just posted on VentureBeat) that included an alleged list of upcoming cases from Griffin, listing the product as "iPad HD (3)", as well as corresponding usage reports from an application called Tapatalk that included "iPad HD" among the list of devices using it.
One big remaining question is whether that name is already in use. Apple owns the rights to the iPad name in the U.S. and other countries (though that's being debated in courts in China right now), but have others already beaten it to the punch online?
On the domain front, the answer to that question is yes. The owner of iPadHD.com told CNET earlier today that he registered the domain before the original iPad was announced in 2010. He told us that he's never been contacted by Apple about the domain in the years he's held onto it. That includes the last few weeks.
Separately, iPadHD.biz is already taken, and is currently parked through a domain company that offers a way to bid on the name. And iPadHD.co.uk has been registered since February 26, 2010 (a month after the iPad's unveiling), and is also parked.
Just because some of these names are already taken doesn't mean Apple won't pounce on them after the fact. It did just that with Cisco and the iPhone name after introducing it--a move that led to a legal spat between the two companies, now settled. Apple also picked up iCloud.com from another company to play home to its cloud-based service last year.
Apple has been known to tack simple modifiers onto its product names before, so a name like the iPad HD wouldn't be unprecedented. For instance, in the fifth major version of its iMovie software (part of iLife), Apple added support for 720p and 1080i video, and also dropped the version number in favor of calling it iMovie HD. The second-generation iPhone also simply got a "3G" tacked on the end to denote that it was compatible with third-generation cellular networks.
Apple is widely expected to take the wraps off the next iPad at its event this Wednesday. CNET will be there to cover the event live. We'll have all the details of our coverage for you tomorrow.