Oct. 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM ET
Even journalists and devoted Apple fans were a bit surprised at Tuesday's update of the full-size iPad; generally Apple's products are out at least a year or so before new versions are announced. But what was merely perplexing for some may be downright infuriating for others, particularly those who just bought an iPad 3 thinking they were safe from obsolescence — for a few more months, anyway.
Some buyers may be in luck, however: As usual, anyone who bought their iPad from Apple in the last two weeks is within the return period, and CNET reports that at least one store is allowing returns for iPads bought as far as a month back as a conciliatory gesture.
This extended return period hasn't been confirmed by Apple, although one consumer claims to have heard from Apple Care about it. I called an Apple Store in Seattle and they said they weren't doing the extended return period. The manager speculated that larger stores with more inventory might have more freedom to do it. Apple itself has not responded to our inquiries, but we will update this article if they get back to us.
There's no risk in calling your local Apple Store and asking, though. Just be sure that your 3rd-gen iPad is in mint condition: no etching, stickers, or wear and tear. Otherwise they won't take it in whether you bought it a month ago or this week.
Were you unlucky enough to you have bought your iPad 3 just outside the window of return opportunity? Don't be too put out. The new model got a speed boost and the new Lightning connector, but that's all. The great screen and form factor are otherwise identical, so be assured you still have a solid tablet in your hands.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.