By ROB WAUGH
Apple itself never exhibits at CES, but the various third-party companies that make cases and add-ons for iPad do - and it's from these that iLounge claims to have had its sneak preview of iPad 3 - which is very similar to iPad 2, the site reports
Popular Apple-watching website iLounge claims to have had a first hands-on with iPad 3, behind the scenes at CES. The claim isn't too outlandish: iLounge broke a story about iPad 2 at CES last year, which turned out to be authentic.
Apple itself never exhibits at CES, but the various third-party companies that make cases and add-ons for iPad do - and it's from these that iLounge claims to have had its sneak preview. Most tech insiders also agree that a new iPad is due, and soon.
Predictions of a launch date for the gadget range from as early as February to a later spring launch.
The site's editor-in-chief, Jeremy Horwitz claims to have seen a pre-production model of the upcoming gadget - and goes so far as to claim that others might have seen the gadget too, but it's so similar to iPad 2 that they would have had no idea.
Horwitz claims to have seen a casing for the device, not the screen itself - a crucial point, since an ultra-high-resolution screen is strongly rumoured to be the big improvement that Apple delivers this time round.
Leaks in Apple's supply chain have hinted that the new machine will have a screen as sharp as iPhone 4's - just much bigger.