Happy birthday iPad! In the wake of all the iPhone 5S/6 rumors, we forget that the iPad was released three years ago (with much skepticism from many pundits), and quickly became one of the most successful computer products in history.

Now comes word that the iPad line up for Apple will be updated this spring – probably by mid-May. Big retailers are starting to offer discounts on the iPad 3 (30%), which is a sign that the next version is coming soon. So, what is the word about the next generation iPads?

Pricing
Pricing is touchy with Apple. They are loath to drop prices on successful products. But Apple is all too aware of the inroads made by Android smartphones. While the iPad is still the dominant tablet on the market (by far), Apple should worry about that edge eroded by cheaper, but still effective, tablets. Therefore, you may see some price drops. The iPad Mini 2 may drop in price, from $329 to $299. The iPad 5 will probably stay at the $499 mark, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it fell to $449 or even $399.

OS
Expect the updated iPads to run on iOS 6.2, since iOS 7 probably won’t be ready until the fall.

Retina Display
The iPad Mini 2 will get Retina Display (which is already on the iPad).

Faster
Expect an updated processor for the iPad Mini 2. Apple will upgrade from the A5 processor to the A6 – or even the A7.

Otherwise, expect a few other minor updates. It’s not a significant update for the regular iPad – but the Mini gets a nice go over. The main thing that Apple is toying with is pricing. They make a lot of money on the iPad. And while no tablet can match the quality of the iPad, (less expensive) Android tablets get better and better. This means a market that could erode if consumers feel the extra cash spent on an Apple iPad isn’t worth it.