With five days to go before Apple unveils its latest iPad, 9to5 Mac has apparently debunked a rumor that Cupertino's new tablet would come with a $70-80 price increase. The hearsay started when MacRumors reported on unconfirmed price comparisons of the iPad 2 and iPad 3 that showed up on a Chinese microblogging site. However, one of 9to5's sources tipped them off that the prices for the new iPad will remain consistent with first two versions, ranging from $499 for 16GB Wi-Fi to $829 for 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G. While this doesn't come as a huge surprise — Apple has set a precedent for iOS device pricing to stay consistent across upgrades — it is a relief to know there isn't going to be a premium for that 264ppi screen and whatever other tricks Apple has up its sleeve. This also puts the kibosh on another rumor: that Apple would be moving to a 8GB iPad 2, 16GB and 32GB iPad 3 lineup this time around.
Of course, final confirmation of this and all the other iPad 3 rumors will have to wait until Apple's official announcement at 10AM PST, on Wednesday, March 7th. You can bet we'll be there live.