The next iPad will have the name “iPad 3,” according to the consensus of rumors, and it features a faster processor/GPU while remaining the same size as the current iPad 2. Its unveiling is in a month and will be available (in Wi-Fi certainly) almost immediately after.
The big differentiator this year is the “Retina Display” with a staggering 2048-by-1536 pixel screen, likely made by Sharp/Samsung/LG. An Apple employee told The New York Times that the display was “truly amazing” and it must be with a pixel count that lies between the 21- and 27-inch iMacs squeezed into a 9.7-inch display. Consider: You can watch a Blu-ray movie at native resolution with over 100 pixels on the side and nearly 500 pixels below to “play with.”
Oh, by the way: How many megapixels is 2048×1536? Just over 3.
That screen sounds like it might take more juice to power, but Apple will add some extra battery capacity, which might make the iPad 3 slightly thicker. The battery life will likely continue with 10 hours as the baseline (why make the case slightly bigger or smaller otherwise?).
More, including Bluetooth, Camera, NFC, Gig Wifi, and Thunderbolt below:
Bluetooth 4.0: The iPad will almost certainly come with the next generation Broadcom chips that shipped with the iPhone 4S to allow low-power and speedy Bluetooth coupling.
Siri: One of the bigger questions is whether Siri makes sense on the iPad. People do not generally hold the iPad up to their faces in everyday use, and the microphone would need improvements and somehow re-jiggered to give iPad users an acceptable Siri experience. We think Siri gives the iPad 3 some added wow quality so, that leads to…
Microphone: Microphone housing on iPad 3 parts are different that iPad 2, according to some ‘leaked parts.’ It is unknown how they are implemented but improvements here would almost give Apple a legitimate reason not to include Siri on the iPad 2.
Gig Wi-Fi: This is a long shot, but there are some new Gig Wi-Fi Chips coming from Broadcom that could push the iPad’s wireless capabilities into the stratosphere. Before dismissing the idea, remember that at some point people will need to reliably stream 1080P movies around, which is not always possible on typical congested 802.11N networks.
Camera: Rumors indicate that the iPod touch-like cameras on the iPad 2, which are –let’s face it—terrible, will see an upgrade. Something to consider: If you have a 1080P+ display, should you also have 1080P+ cameras to shoot with? The iPad 3′s screen is 3 Megapixels. I cannot see how both cameras will miss an upgrade with the back camera hopefully hitting somewhere in the 3-5megapixel vicinity including some optics borrowed from the iPhone 4S. As a gauge, the iPad 2 back camera is roughly the same pixel count as the screen.
NFC: It sounds like it is a go on the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 likely share a lot of the same chips so why not? Oh, because there isn’t any use for it yet on a tablet sized device?
New Gorilla Glass: 20% Stronger/lighter than before. Apple started the Gorilla Glass rebirth with the iPhone so…Why not? Also throw in all of the laminates and sapphire treatments as well. You don’t want fingerprints, nicks or scratches on your Retina Display. There are also rumors of waterproofing.
128GB option?: We’re split on this. Apple is already stuffing a lot of stuff into this device and keeping the price points would be hard with a storage bump as well. With more content moving to the Cloud (Netflix/Hulu/etc) big storage makes less sense. On the other hand, Retina Graphics are going to be huge and require a lot of space. 1080P movies will be multiple Gigabytes each.
According to the SDK, there will be three versions of iPad 3. Our best guess on this is one will be Wifi available around launch, one will be 3G version available soon after launch and we’re guessing the 4G LTE version is going to take some time.
We also believe Apple will keep the iPad 2 SKUs around after launch with a reduced price tag, perhaps as much as $100 off giving people the option of a $399 iPad 2 (refubs currently come in at $419).
We’d love to know your thoughts and if we’ve missed anything.