Apple's iPad 2 was announced March 2, 2011. Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired
Next year, Apple will unveil its iPad 3. Only an event of apocalyptic proportions would prevent the tablet’s release. History tells us we can expect iPad 3 sometime in the first quarter — but exactly when? And will it include a retina display? And will there be two different models?
If you enjoy your New Year’s Eve cocktails with an extra shot of speculation, check out our iPad 3 rumor and report roundup below. We didn’t originate these stories, folks. We’re just bundling them up in one tidy little package for your own scrutiny and reality-checking.
The Hardware: What Are the Rumored Specs?
The iPad 3 could be 4G and use Qualcomm’s LTE Gobi 4000 chip, according to CNET. Apple uses Qualcomm to supply the 3G chips in its iPhones. Digitimes says the new tablet is also expected to use a quad-core A6 processor, an upgrade from the A5 in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.
A “retina display”-level screen is expected to finally arrive on the iPad with Apple’s next launch. The 9.7-inch display is expected to boast a 2048×1536 resolution, according to DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim.
The display is also expected to utilize a different kind of technology than past iPads: indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) — this in order to increase resolution to full HD. Jefferies analyst Peter Mizek suggested Apple would be using a modified version of IGZO, as this technology would allow the device to be thinner since it wouldn’t need dual-bar LED backlighting.
iLounge, on the other hand, expects the iPad 3 to be “modestly thicker” (0.7 mm) than its predecessor.
The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Sharp would be making the displays for Apple’s next-generation iPad (and that Sharp already supplies displays for iPhones). Digitimes says that both Sharp and Samsung will be producing the high-resolution displays, whose dimensions are the same as the iPad 2’s.
iPad 3 could have up to a 14,000 mAh battery, says Digitimes.
ETA: When Will It Be Announced — and Delivered for Sale?
A November 18 Digitimes report suggested iPad 3 units will start being assembled at Foxconn in January.
As of December 12, though, Digitimes was reporting Apple’s next iPad could land in March or April. Components are, reportedly, already being delivered to the factory, pegging the launch at three to four months away, Digitimes wrote. Seeing as the last iPad made its debut in early March, this does seem reasonable.
Although it wouldn’t be available for the masses until spring, we could get a glimpse at the iPad 3 as soon as January, according to iLounge and Digitimes. Loop Insight’s Jim Dalrymple said that rumor is “completely false,” though. We won’t be seeing the next iPad at MacWorld in January (or CES, for that matter), according to his contacts.
Iterations: Will There Be More Than One iPad 3?
Apple has been toying with a 7.85-inch display panel, according to a November Digitimes report, fueling rumors that we could be seeing an iPad “mini” debut alongside a full-sized iPad.
Nope, never mind, Digitimesretracted all that iPad Mini stuff, but still expects two new iPads will be announced. Both will feature QXGA resolution (again, that’s 2,048×1,536), but one version will be high-end and the other will be targeted at the mid-range market. The existing iPad 2 would battle in the low-end market against the popular Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The higher-end model will feature an 8-megapixel camera, while the middle-range model would sport a 5-megapixel camera.
Based on the number of contradictory reports floating around, and the accuracy of iPhone and iPad rumors in the past, one thing is pretty clear: Nobody really knows what to expect of Apple’s next big iDevice until it actually launches.
But the iPad 3 is coming, and it’s sure to steal the hearts of Apple fanboys, and stoke the fury of Apple critics.