The Apple iPad 2 has been out for almost a year now, so it's time to say hello to iPad 3 (or possibly the iPad HD, if new rumours are to be believed).
And we'll be doing just that at an iPad 3 launch this week (Wednesday to be exact) - the subject of the event is "something you really have to see. And touch" says Apple.
The web is teeming with rumours about the new iPad 3 / iPad HD processor, cameras and display, so we've gathered together as many details as we can on its possible specifications.
Of course, some of these can be taken with a pinch of salt, but there's definite patterns occurring and we'd say the final iPad 3 release won't be that far removed from many of these rumours.
It's time to place your bets, what do you think the iPad 3 / iPad HD will bring? But wait, what's this - Sky Bet has pulled its iPad 3 betting after certain trends occurred: "If the money is correct, then the new hardware will definitely not have a new carbon fibre casing, will not be called the iPad 2S and will have 128GB of storage!".
So what's the word on the street about the iPad 3?
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Apple iPad 3 release date
The iPad 3 release date will be March or April 2012. We now know there will definitely be an iPad 3 launch event on 7 March and we'll probably also see the release of iOS 5.1 at the same time.
We'd expect the iPad 3 US release date to be in early March and the iPad 3 UK release date later in the month.
Apple news site iMore was right in saying the announcement would be 7 March, citing sources "which have proved reliable in the past" have confirmed the date ahead of any official announcement from Cupertino.
On 27 February it was reported that the iPad 3 was ready to ship from Foxconn in China and a shipment would arrive in the US on 9 March.
Digitimes reported in late November 2011 that panel makers had already started shipping panels for the new iPad 3 - a million in October and two million in November.
Foxconn, Apple's major manufacturing partner, is said to have started production of the iPad 3 in January. 2012. A source at one of Apple's partners also told Bloomberg also stated that the company began production of the iPad 3 in January, with a view to reaching full volumes in February.
Digitimes reckons the new model is expected to meet the heady heights of 9.5 to 9.8 million units over the course of Q1 2012.
The Apple iPad 3 will have a quad-core processor
It's probable that the iPad 3 will have a brand spanking new processor, Apple's A6 - which will surely be a quad-core ARM-based processor. Quad-core designs are coming from various ARM partners and the Tegra 3 has already been launched by Nvidia, as well as the Snapdragon S4 from Qualcomm.
According to the Korea Times in November, the A6 processors are to be manufactured by Samsung, despite the companies' ongoing patent battles. Could it be based on the new ARM A15 core design?
Apple iPad 3 display
A retina display was widely predicted for the iPad 2, but of course the current iPad doesn't have a double-resolution display: for now, that's something you'll only get in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Could an iPad 3 Retina Display be on the way? It's the very first thing on our iPad 3 wish list.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal in late November 2011, Sharp will manufacture panels for the device. Apparently Apple is investing in infrastructure at Sharp's LCD plant. Further rumours said that Apple is looking to implement some nifty dual LED lightbar technology into the iPad 3, apparently in a bid to counter-balance the brightness issue that the Apple tablet may have, due to its super-high pixel density.
iPAD 2:We wanted a retina screen, but didn't get it- what about for iPad 3?
Is the next iPad the iPad HD?
The new iPad could actually be called the iPad HD if leaked data from iPad accessory manufacturers is to be believed.
The latest speculation comes from leaked parts listings of iPad accessory manufacturers Griffin and Belkin, who only get information on Apple devices a week or two before they are announced.
The listing shows the product name "Griffin IPAD HD", which upholds other rumours that the iPad 3 (or is it the iPad HD now?) will sport at retina-like display, as seen on the iPhone 4S.
Although this by no means guarantees the iPad 3 will be the iPad HD, server logs have also turned up which make reference to a device called iPad HD and discloses the tablet's resolution as 2048 x 1536.
Case manufactures have a good history of being on the money when it comes to pre-empting Apple's hardware plans, with last year's iPhone 5-gate being an exception to the rule.
There is no confusion of where the iPad 2S name derives from – following the way of the iPhone as we saw Apple announce the iPhone 4S last year.
According to several rumours the iPad 2S will sport the same look as the 2, with a boost in internal gubbins but slightly more portly in depth.
There may be an iPad 3 LTE version
Persistent rumours suggest LTE support will be provided for the US. Great for the US, though it will leave the UK behind as there's no 4G connectivity as yet. Cnet.com believes that the new iPad may feature a Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip.
On 14 February 2012, the Wall Street Journalreported that: "Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks, according to people familiar with the matter."
The iPad 3 will usher in iOS 5.1
Alongside the much anticipated iPad 3, Macotakara sources seem convinced we'll see iOS 5.1 come out of beta in March too.
The iPad 3 will have a bigger battery
A casing supposedly for the iPad 3 was posted online in February, with its size suggesting we're in for an increase in battery and graphics power in the new Apple tablet. Some say the new casing appears to accommodate a larger battery.
Will the iPad 3 have a smaller dock connector?
Parts previewed on some websites indicate that, although the iPad 3 will still have a 30 pin dock connector, the packaging is streamlined. Well, if this is true, we knew it would happen sooner or later.
The iPad 3 specifications will include more storage
The iPad 2 has the familiar 16/32/64GB storage options. A 128GB option for the iPad 3 isn't impossible - although that might depend on the situation in Asia, where natural disasters caused chaos in parts of the electronics industry last year.
The iPad 3 features could include a Thunderbolt port
Two generations of USB-free iPads suggest that Apple just isn't interested in adding one, but the new Thunderbolt port found in the 2011 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air could be another story: it's a combined accessory/display connector with astonishingly fast performance.
There could be more than one iPad 3
TUAW says the iOS 5 code features new code files for USB devices in the iOS 5 firmware, Through this, TUAW found references to an iPad 3,1 and an iPad 3,2. Is this latter variant the LTE version?