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Rumor: Apple may charge $80 more for 'iPad 3' with Retina Display

A document that has surfaced out of the Far East claims that Apple's third-generation iPad will cost $80 more, starting at $579 instead of $499.

Evidence of a potential price hike for Apple's so-called "iPad 3" came on Monday from a newly publicized price comparison sheet that surfaced from China. The post was originally discovered on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo by MacRumors.

The comparison chart shows a 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only iPad priced at $579, with the 32-gigabyte model for $679 and 64-gigabyte for $779. 3G-capable models are also shown with a price hike, though slightly less at $70 for each model.

If the rumored prices prove accurate, the increases could be as a result of higher costs associated with the Retina Display Apple's next iPad is expected to feature. Reports have pointed toward the new iPad screen having a resolution of 2,047 by 1,536 pixels, which would be twice that of the current 1,024-by-768-pixel screen on the iPad 2.

Other changes to the iPad are expected to be largely internal, with evidence of a faster processor and potential 4G LTE connectivity having surfaced in recent weeks. On the outside, the next iPad is expected to look largely the same, with an external case featuring edges slightly more tapered than the iPad 2.

A price increase for the next iPad would be a rare move for Apple, which has generally maintained price points for its iOS products with each annual upgrade. One of the biggest surprises with the first iPad when it was announced in 2010 was its $499 starting price, which some analysts expected would cost over $1,000.

There have also been suggestions that Apple could continue to offer the current iPad 2 at a lower price, much like the company currently does with previous-generation iPhone models. Some have seen a hypothetical $399 iPad 2 as a way Apple could take away sales from Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire.