Rumour has it that Apple’s iPad 3 HD will launch during the week of March 9. Apple has been so hush-hush about the whole thing that it’s hard to know for sure what the company will do until it actually does something. Considering Microsoft’s recent launching of the consumer preview of its Windows 8 operating system, it’s not hard to believe that Apple may have decided to launch its retail-ready iPad 3. Besides, isn’t this the time of year that Apple usually releases something new? The iPad 2 was released in March 2011 after all.

Fans of tablet PCs will probably be delighted to know that Apple will soon release the iPad 3 HD, complete with 4G LTE capability, faster graphics and a faster processor. This could be good news for small-business owners who want to switch from laptops to tablets for their employees. The fact that the new iPad 3 will have a longer battery life will be music to the ears of those who like to stay connected without having to plug in after only a couple of hours of use.

The problem with Apple computers is that they tend to cost more than those that Apple’s competitors offer. The The iPad 2, for instance, is still, according to Apple’s website, selling for $499 and up, which is $300 more than Amazon’s Kindle Fire is selling for. So, what’s going to happen when the iPad 3 does make its debut? Will the prices of the iPad 2 go down or will the iPad 3, with all its improved technologies, receive a price tag that puts it beyond the budget of the average Joe? And what would it take to get people to splurge on this new and improved Apple tablet PC?

One enticement might be the proposed high definition screen. But who would this new feature entice, current iPad 2 users or laptop users vacillating between trying a tablet PC and waiting to upgrade the operating systems in their laptops to Windows 8 when it’s finally market ready?

As Apple prepares to roll out the iPad 3 HD tablet, consumers must take a long hard look not only at what they can afford to pay for a new computer but also what they really need from it.