Apple introduced its $99 AppleCare+ protection plan back when the iPhone 4S launched last year, replacing the standard package. It still extends free repair service to two years from the purchase date, but also covers up to two replacements due to accidental damage — though you do have to shell out $49 a time. However, this plan is currently limited to the iPhone, with iPad owners' only option right now being the standard $79 AppleCare package that doesn't cover your butterfingered mishaps. That may be about to change with today's near-certain announcement of the iPad 3, if MacRumors is to be believed, as the site is reporting that the same plan will be introduced alongside Apple's latest tablet. The report has also been corroborated by 9to5Mac.
It would certainly make sense to us — an off-contract iPhone 4S is right in the middle of the iPad's price banding, meaning that a broken tablet wouldn't cost the company much (if any) more to replace. Furthermore, the larger device is less likely to be taken out of the house, meaning it's probably less likely to get broken in the first place. There's only one way to know for sure, and while we don't necessarily think this is the sort of thing to get mentioned in Apple's keynote, it's not long before we'll find out all the news to come out of Cupertino.