Last year at this time the blog was a buzz with iPad2 rumors, as the countdown to the iPad 2 launch was on. It’s that time again this year as iPad 3 rumors and speculation begin to heat up. While no official word has come from the lips of Apple it is anticipated the iPad 3 will be introduced next month on March 7.
Update: Apple has announced March 7th, 2012 as the official iPad 3 announcement. Several tech sites including this one also believe Apple will announce an upgraded Apple TV at the same time see our post: Apple TV 2012 blog post
With rumor mill running rampant over the internet here’s our guide and predictions to what me might see next month with the launch of the iPad 3.
Display: The most talked about rumor for the iPad 3 is the upgrade to a retina display. The retina display is one of the most beloved features of the iPhone 4 and a sharper display was on the wish list last year for the iPad 2. Mac Rumors claims to have obtained an iPad 3 LCD panel and has measured the resolution to be 2048 x 1536, double that of the current iPad 2.
With some Android tablets offering 1080p resolutions the increased resolution on the iPad 3 is a pretty safe bet.
Processing Power & Ram:
Most sources agree that the new iPad 3 will have an A6 processor inside however some speculate it will be dual core while others insist it will be quad core. Bloomberg reported the new iPad 3 will have a Quad Core A6 processor inside.
With increased processing power and a retina display many experts have questioned the need for a RAM upgrade to take full advantage of a 10 inch retina display. The current iPad 2 has 512 MB of buffered ram however most agree more RAM will be needed for the iPad 3 with the larger, higher resolution display.
Suffice it to say the a Quad Core A6 chip is most likely while an increase in RAM is purely speculative at this point.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple was testing an 8 inch size tablet however they don’t believe it will be the iPad 3. Next Media Apple Daily (Taiwan) has posted photos of what it claims to be the iPad 3 showing a larger front rear facing cameras and slightly more tapered design.
Several sources have predicted the new iPad 3 will have upgraded cameras both front and back. Anybody with an iPad 2 knows the cameras on it are terrible and an upgrade to iPhone 4S quality cameras would make the iPad 3 a much better multimedia tool. iLounge predicts the iPad 3 will have an HD front-facing camera for HD Facetime while pictures have surfaced of a higher resolution rear facing camera reported to be 8 mega pixels, same as the iPhone 4S.
The battery on the iPad 3 is rumored to be larger and higher capacity than the iPad 2 providing up to 19 hours of use. This rumor seems likely since battery and component technology continues to evolve and improve. The new A6 chip will be more energy efficient than it’s predecessor and the increased battery size coupled with energy saving technologies should boost the iPad 3’s standby and use time the only question is by how much?
4G, LTE, Network:
One of the biggest items on the wish list of the iPad 2 was 4G or LTE connectivity. With 4G/LTE networks at their infancy last year, it didn’t make sense for Apple to incorporate a 4G/LTE radio into the iPad 2. What a difference a year makes. Most cellular providers now offer limited 4G/LTE network coverage and it’s expanding everyday so the question is does Apple consider the current 4G/LTE network coverage sufficient enough to warranty putting a 4G radio on the iPad 3 or is it a case of the 4G network is still not large enough to warrant consideration at this time?
4G/LTE is still a 50/50 proposition on the iPad 3 based on current network coverage.
iOS6 and Siri:
With iOS5 and the iPhone 4S just recently introduced a could of months ago it’s unlikely we’ll see iOS6 coming out on the iPad 3. It is likely to see Siri on the iPad 3 especially since some details were revealed in iOS5 referencing the iPad in Siri
- SD card slot -highly unlikely
- Mini Dock Connector -will the iPad 3 be the first to support a mini dock connector – highly unlikely
- NFC Chip – near field communications chip, Apple like all manufacturers are very interested in NFC however we doubt we’ll see it till the iPhone 5.
- More Storage – standard iPad configurations have been 16/31/64 however 128GB has been rumored, Pricing pressures may make this an expensive option which Apple may want to avoid.
- Thunderbolt Port – the dock connector is the only port to date on iOS devices. Odds are you may see a dock connector to thunderbolt adapter but don’t expect to see one directly on the device, it’s just not the iPad way.
iPad 3 or iPad 2S?
Is the new iPad going to be called an iPad 3 or iPad 2-S? Apple generally releases new iOS devices each year and traditionally calls them 1, 2, 3, 4. When Apple releases products mid term they usually designate the product model with an ‘S’ for special edition or speed indicating faster processor. There is a speculation I have which has been shared by some other tech writers that the new iPad 3 may not be as significant an upgrade as some may think and that Apple may just be introducing an iPad 2S next month, with processor and retina display upgrades in preparation of introducing a complete iOS-6 mobile product line this fall bringing all i-OS devices under one umbrella (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad). September is generally a better time for sales then the spring with back to school and the Christmas gift buying season. From a marketing and manufacturing point of view it makes sense for Apple to announce a congruent line of iOS devices in September which all use the same processors, cameras, LTE/4G radios and iOS 6. Apple upgraded the iPhone 4 to 4S this fall when most predicted an iPhone 5 and sales still went through the roof hitting record numbers, so there is the chance that Apple may do the same thing with the iPad 3 next month and introduce an iPad 2S with the iPad 3 being delayed until September when both the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 can be introduced at the same time running iOS 6?
Most tech blogs are predicting March 7th as the iPad 3 announcement date, although Apple has not made any official press release. Last year the iPad 2 was announced on March 2nd with availability on March 11th so odds are we’ll see an iPad 3 on store shelves something next month unless Apple opts to bring us an iPad 2S like the iPhone 4S last October?
Update: Apple has announced March 7th, 2012 as the official iPad 3 announcement. It’s been widely speculated that Apple will announce an upgraded Apple TV at the same time see our post: Apple TV 2012 blog post