Apple's recent statement that it may not introduce ARM-based Macs in the future has led CNET to believe that Apple's highly anticipated iPad 3 may arrive with a keyboard option.

The technology Web site based the speculation from a meeting that took place Thursday between Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Tim Cook reiterated his view that rapid innovation on the iOS platform (and mobile OS platforms in general) will significantly broaden the use case for tablets, eventually pushing annual tablet volumes above those of traditional PCs. We have wondered whether Apple might offer an ARM-based version of MacBook Air at some point; we walked away from this meeting with the impression that Apple feels iPad satisfies--or will soon satisfy--the needs of those who might have been interested in such a product, Garner said in a statement on CNET.

As Garner clearly stated that the iPad would soon satisfy the needs of an ARM MacBook, it's quite likely that Apple's forthcoming tablet may be launched with a keyboard dock option like that found on the ASUS Transformer Prime.

Apple has been planning to switch to ARM for some time in the past, but apparently abandoned the idea as the ARM architecture is not quite advanced enough to power the latest Macs yet.

Currently, Apple's MacBook Air runs Mac OS X on Intel's Sandy Bridge Core processors while the iPad and iPhone use A5 processors in its circuitry. ARM processors are basically designed for low power consumption.

If Apple decides to adopt a removable keyboard for its forthcoming tablet, then iPad 3 might just be the hottest device to be around. As far as rumors go, iPad 3 is looking for a March release this year and is expected to arrive with a 2048x1536 display, 4G LTE technology with double the battery power of the iPad 2 in addition to a range of other killer features.