Perhaps someone can clear a couple of doubts. At Northlight Images, more precisely on the Canon 3D topic, there's a mention to a new sensor for 3D, and this:
# 29th Lots of comment received about yesterday's 3D info, including a reminder of Canon's 3 colour sensor patent from last year. This from our 7D rumours page:
# A multi level 'Foveon style' sensor patent from Canon from Jan 2009 USP 20090008735
# "...proposes a photo-detection method that uses a two-dimensionally laminated image sensor in which a pixel has a multilayer structure and the three colors of RGB are detected at different depths utilizing differences in the absorption coefficients of Si. In this two-dimensionally laminated image sensor, a high S/N ratio can be expected because photo detectors having a spectroscopic function are arranged and loss of light due to the presence of a color filter does not occur"
# More Canon patents to trawl through at LP. You can get full PDFs of some patents by entering the patent number at http://www.pat2pdf.org/
I'm just wondering about the way Canon introduces new technology. If this turns out to be true, a completely new sensor, as in not an evolution of existing sensors, then perhaps it would make more sense in introducing this in another camera. It would also justify the high prices - new technology, expensive, not a high yield or a high yield but not enough orders to push the price down - this would put the new sensor technology camera at a higher price point than the for instance, 5D. At the same time, both the 5D Mk.III and the new 1D would share an evolution from the existing sensor technology, the article here at CR mentions the 5D sharing the same sensor with the merged 1D camera range. It would be risky to place a bet on an entirely new technology on your cash cow - the 5D, and the "brand representatives", the 1D. Canon would have a high end FF, the 1D, an "entry level", the 5D, with an improvement over existing and proven technology, while the 3D would introduce the first attempt(s) at a radical shift in sensor technology without having to sacrifice their existing cameras range and infuriating a lot of customers that have certain expectations from their material.
Then again, the 3D might be just vapourware, or part of an elaborate confuse-a-cat campaign.
And Northlight has a nice timeline table: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/cameras/Canon_5d3.html#timeline
From the timeline I'd say Canon has their ducks in a row -- announce the 1ds replacement (the oldest model) with the new sensor (and Digic V) this summer, announce the 5dmkII (the second oldest model) replacement(s) with the new sensor / Digic V this fall (perhaps for early 2012 shipping), then rollout 7D mkII, 70D, and 700D in sequence with the new sensor / Digic V technology, with the announcement chronology parallel to that of the 7D, 60D, and T3i/600D -- throughout 2012. That is also the order of incumbent model age. Highest profit margin models get the new technology first.
The opinion will be posted that the flagship never pioneers the new technology, but in this case I think it will. Canon needs to regain momentum in the sector, imho.