iMore isn't the first tech site to report that the iPad 3 will be released in early March. Last week, AllThingsD reported that the iPad 3 will debut at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco in the first week of March. The site also speculated the tablet will hit the market within 1-2 weeks after the unveiling event.
Without doubt, most Apple fans are keeping a watchful eye on the device's features, wondering what new will the iPad 3 boast of?
The display has become one of the most striking change expected in the iPad 3. Many sites such as iMore, CNET, ITProPortal, Eweek and more have speculated that the new tablet will have a Retina Display with a resolution of 2,048x1,536 pixels.
An anonymous Apple employee also told the New York Times that the iPad 3 will boast of "an improved and 'truly amazing' screen," which is line with the Retina Display rumor.
RepairLabs, which recently got an purported iPad 3 rear shell, from "industry insiders in China," also suggested that LCD screen might be changed to a certain degree, but it isn't certain that the new tablet will truly feature Retina Display.
The rear shell also suggested that the iPad 3's battery might be better. "The width of where the logic board sits on the iPad 2 appears much larger than that of the iPad 3," the RepairLabs reported.
In order to accommodate the alleged Retina Display and a larger battery, the reports claim that the thickness of the device should be increased, but not so much - by only 1 mm.
Nevertheless, there's different voices about the thickness. An anonymous source told RepairLabs that there is no sign that the iPad 3 will be thicker than the current iPad 2.
The New York Times also suggested that the new tablet will be "essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2," which echoes RepairLabs' report.
Apple fans are also obviously expecting their tablets have a better camera system. That might become true soon. RepairLabs' report reads "the camera is different," because of the mounts on the iPad 3 casing. However, the report didn't specify how different the new camera will be.
Will the new device sport a faster processor? The New York Times reported that the iPad 3 is already being tested inside of the company and the new device will boast of a faster processor, citing an unnamed Apple employee.
iMore also suggests that the new tablet will be powered by a quad-core A6 processor, which will allow the device to run much faster. The model number of the new chip was revealed as S5L8945X; for reference, the A4 model number was S5L8930X, whereas the A5 chip was S5L8940X.
Nevertheless, the CNET reported four cores might not be in the cards, citing two analysts, who claimed that though the speed can be improved, it may not necessarily be via quad-core.
Meanwhile, CNET also believes the iPad 3 will sport a keyboard option, for Apple said that the company might not introduce ARM-based Macs.
A conversation on Feb. 4 between Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner and Apple CEO Tim Cook prompted the speculation.
"Tim Cook reiterated his view that rapid innovation on the iOS platform (and mobile OS platforms in general) will significantly broaden the use case for tablets, eventually pushing annual tablet volumes above those of traditional PCs." CNET quoted Garner as saying.
"We have wondered whether Apple might offer an ARM-based version of MacBook Air at some point; we walked away from this meeting with the impression that Apple feels iPad satisfies--or will soon satisfy--the needs of those who might have been interested in such a product," Garner was quoted as saying.
Furthermore, CNET also reported that the iOS 5.1 might be updated early March, according to "profiles sent by Apple to various iPhone carriers."
People can't help wondering if iOS 5.1 update coincides with iPad 3's unveiling or not.
"If Apple were planning on having these ready for the weekend of March 9, it seems relatively possible that they could choose that date...perhaps with a catchy theme like 'It's time to leap ahead,'" The Verge's Joshua Topolsky wrote.
iMore also suggested the iPad 3 will "possibly" have 4G LTE networking. Apple had hoped to feature LTE in the iPhone 4S, but because it would be a drain on the battery, CEO Tim Cook gave up the idea. Moreover, "first generation LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises," Cook had said. But a compatible Qualcomm chipset - thinner and smaller one - will be available soon and hence, it's possible that the next generation iPad will support the 4G LTE network.
The Wall Street Journal also reported Monday that Verizon and AT&T will sell the iPad 3 which runs on the 4G LTE, citing " people familiar with the matter."
So far no one knows if Apple's new tablet will be named the iPad 3 or iPad 2S. The similar situation also appeared before the iPhone 4S was unveiled last Oct. At that time, Apple fans had been speculating that the iPhone 5 was coming. However, the new handset is called iPhone 4S, which implies the phone has modest changes rather than the radical redesign that many people expected.
According to the rumor mill, the new tablet will be similar to the current iPad 2. If the speculations are true, the device might be only thicker and have larger camera lens outwardly, just like the differences between iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Hence, if the tablet is named as iPad 2S, people won't be surprised.
Beside the iPad 3, its younger brother iPad Mini, is also reportedly on the way. Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told Computerworld recently that Apple might launch a smaller-sized iPad with a 7-inch display later this year.
The Wall Street Journal also reported Tuesday that the tech giant is working on an 8-inch iPad with suppliers, citing unnamed "officials at some of Apple's suppliers."
"Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched late last year, " the report read.
According to analysts, the iPad Mini would help Apple to secure its dominant market share.
The small-sized iPad is expected to have a similar resolution display as the iPad 2.
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