If information recently fed to various online publications by supposed industry insiders were to be believed, Apple fans should have a field day early next month!
According to them, the Cupertino-company is already set to announce Apple iPad 3, the latest iteration to the popular iOS-powered tablet line, via an exclusive event on March 7, 2012 -- that's less than 30 days from now.
Update as of February 28, 2012 --
Apple has just - in effect - confirmed that the official unveiling of Apple iPad 3 will indeed be done on March 7, 2012 by sending out formal invites to media outlets for a special event to be held on that day at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Aside from the exact location and time of the event, the invite simply has the words "We have something you really need to see. And touch." placed as text layer on what is clearly an image of an iPad.
But what can we expect from Apple's new tablet? What new features will it have?
The thing with upcoming Apple products is you never really know what they're going to be like until they get officially announced. And the same goes iPad3; So far, everything that we know about the slate are but speculations and supposed leaks from Apple insiders.
Let me do a quick round-up:
1. There are insider reports stating that there's a shortage of Retina Display coming from Apple's current display suppliers, LG and Samsung. And, as if reinforcing this claim, Forbes recently posted a story about Apple's hunt for a new display supplier, which ended with Sharp.
Quoting Forbes, "Apple and Sharp together have a modified IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology to achieve 330 dpi, which is sufficient for an HD display while not using IPS nor having to include dual-bar LED backlighting. In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved."
So will Apple call this new screen 'Retina Display' still? Well, that remains to be seen.
2. In November 2011, Korea Times reported that iPad3 will run on the new Apple A6 processor, which - interestingly enough - will be manufactured by Samsung despite on-going legal battles with Apple. Some insiders are saying that A6 will be a quad-core processor with slightly faster clock speed than Apple A5.
3. Last year, CNET hinted that iPad3 will support LTE connectivity via its Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip. If you're not yet familiar with LTE, it's the latest in radio platform technology allowing operators to deliver speeds of up to a whopping 100 Mbits/second -- far-higher than what subscribers can get from even HSPA+. (As mentioned on TP earlier, this should be interesting Smart Communications as the company has just announced its LTE service, which will be publicly available soon. Smart iPad3-LTE bundles, anyone?!)
4. Photos of iPad3 parts leaked via TheiPadGuide show that the new tablet will have a smaller dock connector compared to its two predecessors. (I'm not so sure about this, really.)
5. According to IBTimes, Apple iPad3 will have a thicker shell compared to iPad2. Quoting the site, "iPad 3 back panel hints at a slightly thicker profile, approximately 1 mm thicker than its predecessor. The iPad 2 was only 88 mm deep, but the slightly expanded form is likely intended to house Apple's upgraded components, including a bigger battery, an improved camera, and a dual-LED lit system to make the 2048 x 1536 display even brighter. By adding a second LED bar into its next-gen tablet, Apple also managed to solve a puzzling problem involving heat dissipation and battery consumption."
6. Some tech bloggers are speculating that both iPhone5 and iPad3 will come with NFC support. For those who aren't familiar with this technology, NFC is a technology that allows devices to connect and interact with each other simply by tapping. There are already smartphones and other devices out in the market that has an NFC chip like Nokia N9 and BlackBerry Bold 9900 so Apple is already playing catch-up in this department.
7. Likewise, there are some tech-bloggers who are reporting that the next-generation iPad will come with a higher resolution camera, 128GB of storage for one variant, a ThunderBolt port, a new light-weight carbon fiber enclosure and a microSD card slot. Aside from the camera improvement, the other features mentioned don't seem likely, I think.
8. According to sources of Taiwanese tech website, Digitimes, there will be two versions of the iPad that will be released this year; One will target the high-end segment while the other is in the midrange price category. The two new iPad models, they say, will both run on an Apple A6 processor - with yet to be disclosed features - but the high-end model will come with a high resolution screen (2048x1536) and the mid-tier model will sport the same display as iPad 2 (1024x768).
Again, these are but rumors and speculations and that, at the end of the day, only Apple knows for sure how iPad3 looks and what its technical specifications are exactly.