Rumors have been circulating for months about the next-generation iPad. Now they’re really ramping up. Wednesday saw the release of its supposed specs, and when it could arrive.
It’s still unknown when the next-generation iPad could be unveiled. Speculations about a February or March announcement date have been making the rounds throughout the web for some time now. This is also in line with the company’s product launch cycle.
Lets Take a look what we know so far:
The iPad 3 will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2
Apple is said to make the the iPad 3 slightly thicker (about 1 mm) than the iPad 2. While this breaks with Apple’s tradition of releasing thinner and lighter devices, it likely had to make some concessions so it could add new guts for a better screen and a 4G antenna.
It will run on those zippy 4G LTE networks from Verizon and AT&T
According to various reports, the iPad 3 will have a LTE antenna. That means its download speeds will be super fast if you sign up for a data plan with AT&T or Verizon. (And happen to live in a city where those carriers offer 4G LTE coverage.)
This sounds like a reasonable rumor as many analysts and tech bloggers think 2012 will be the year Apple finally adopts 4G in its devices.
There will be a chip a chip for faster apps and graphics
Apple will most likely introduce a new processor for the iPad 3, just like it did last year and the year before. The new “A6″ processor is said to be a quad-core chip, which means it will be a lot faster than the iPad 2. The processor will make apps load faster, graphics look better, and increase the overall performance of the device.
The front-facing FaceTime camera will now be HD
The iPad 3′s FaceTime camera will probably get a boost that allows it to take HD video for the first time. This will make video chatting a lot better considering FaceTime tends to look a bit grainy now.
The iPad 3 will look nearly identical to the iPad 2
Aside from the rumor that it’ll be 1 mm thicker, it’ll be nearly impossible to tell the difference between the iPad 2 and iPad 3 from the outside. It looks like Apple will be making mostly internal upgrades for better performance this time around.
So far, we haven’t seen any leaked parts or cases that hint at a redesign for the iPad 3.
Higher resolution screen
While it may not be a true “Retina Display” like the one on the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPad 3′s display will probably get a boost in resolution. That means sharper images and graphics.
Thanks to the new processor, there’s also a good chance the iPad 3 will be able to display HD video too. We’ve already seen upcoming Android tablets that can play HD video, so it’s not a stretch.
The iPad 2 won’t die this year! Apple will sell it at a cheaper price instead
One thing we learned last year is that many people have no problems skipping over the iPad for a bargain tablet from a big brand. HP’s $99 TouchPad fire sale had people lining up. And Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire is estimated to have sold millions so far.
In response, Apple may keep the iPad 2 around for another year and price it at $399, according to the latest report. It’s not unprecedented. With each new iPhone release, Apple keeps the previous model around at a cheaper price too. In fact, you can get the iPhone 3GS for free on AT&T right now.
The iPad 3 may have a huge new battery that can last twice as long as the iPad 2. How long is that? Possibly up to 20 hours when only using Wi-Fi. Keep in mind this rumor comes from DigiTimes, which isn’t always right about future Apple products.
What about a 7-inch iPad?
Doesn’t it feel like we go through this with every new iDevice? Even though Steve Jobs himself ranted against 7-inch tablets, rumors still persist that Apple wants to make one. We doubt it. If Apple is going to make a cheaper iPad, it’s much more likely to reduce the price of the iPad 2 when the iPad 3 launches.
Will there be 3D?
According to one of our sources close to Apple, the company was working on a 3D version of the next iPad. In fact, early prototypes were called the “iPad 3D.”
But Apple decided to scrap the idea because it didn’t find 3D very useful.
Apple may shrink the dock connector
Ever since the original iPod, most iDevices have used the same iconic dock connector for syncing to your computer and charging. Some reports last year, based on images of leaked parts, suggest that Apple may shrink the iPad 3′s dock connector to make room for more parts inside.
Reports on when the iPad 3 will launch vary. If you average it all together though, it looks like the new tablet will launch in March, with an announcement in late February.