Photo: khawkins04 via Flickr
Apple is going to finally, officially announce the iPad 3 (or iPad HD?) today.There shouldn’t be too many surprises. Unlike the iPhone 4S launch, no one really expects Apple to release a completely redesigned iThing.
So far, all the leaks point to internal upgrades for speed and performance, meaning the iPad 3 will look nearly identical to the iPad 2.
Keep reading to see what else we know about the iPad 3.
Apple is said to make the the iPad 3 slightly thicker (about 1 mm) than the iPad 2. While this breaks with Apple's tradition of releasing thinner and lighter devices, it likely had to make some concessions so it could add new guts for a better screen and 4G antenna.
According to various reports, the iPad 3 will have a LTE antenna. That means its download speeds will be super fast if you live in a city with 4G LTE coverage.
This sounds like a reasonable rumour as many analysts and tech bloggers think 2012 will be the year Apple finally adopts 4G in its devices.
Apple will most likely introduce a new processor for the iPad 3, just like it did last year and the year before. The new 'A6' processor is said to be a quad-core chip, which means it will be a lot faster than the iPad 2. The processor will make apps load faster, graphics look better, and increase the overall performance of the device.
Lately, a lot of people have been saying the iPad 3 won't get an 'A6' quad-core processor, but an 'A5x' dual-core processor. That means the iPad 3's processor will be a little faster than the iPad 2's, but not as fast as it would've been if it was a quad-core chip.
Based on some of the leaked iPad 3 cases floating around out there, it looks like the slot for the tablet's camera will be a bit larger than the iPad 2's. Many think that means the iPad 3 will get an 8 MP camera, similar to the one already in the iPhone 4S. It may also shoot full 1080p HD video.
The iPad 3's FaceTime camera will probably get a boost that allows it to take HD video for the first time. This will make video chatting a lot better considering FaceTime tends to look a bit grainy now. (Don't let those commercials fool you!)
Aside from the rumour that it'll be 1 mm thicker, it'll be nearly impossible to tell the difference between the iPad 2 and iPad 3 from the outside. It looks like Apple will be making mostly internal upgrades for better performance this time around.
While it may not be a true 'Retina display' like the one on the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPad 3's display will probably get a boost in resolution. That means sharper images and graphics.
Thanks to the new processor, there's a good chance the iPad 3 will be able to display HD video too. We've already seen Android tablets that can play HD video, so it's not a stretch.
MacRumors recently obtained what may be an iPad 3 display. Based on what they found, the iPad 3's display will have a 2048x1536 resolution, which is twice the iPad 2's resolution.
One thing we learned last year is that many people have no problems skipping over the iPad for a bargain tablet from a big brand. HP's $99 TouchPad fire sale had people lining up. And Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire is estimated to have sold millions so far.
In response, Apple may keep the iPad 2 around for another year and price it at ~$399, according to the latest report. It's not unprecedented. With each new iPhone release, Apple keeps the previous model around at a cheaper price too. In fact, you can get the iPhone 3GS for free on AT&T right now.
The iPad 3 may have a huge new battery that can last twice as long as the iPad 2. How long is that? Possibly up to 20 hours when only using Wi-Fi. Keep in mind this rumour comes from DigiTimes, which isn't always right about future Apple products.
Doesn't it feel like we go through this with every new iDevice? Even though Steve Jobs ranted against 7-inch tablets, rumours still persist that Apple wants to make one. We doubt it. If Apple is going to make a cheaper iPad, it's much more likely to reduce the price of the iPad 2 when the iPad 3 launches.
According to one of our sources close to Apple, the company was working on a 3D version of the next iPad. In fact, early prototypes were called the 'iPad 3D.'
But Apple decided to scrap the idea because it didn't find 3D very useful. (We agree!)
Ever since the original iPod, most iDevices have used the same iconic dock connector for syncing to your computer and charging. Some reports last year, based on images of leaked parts, suggest that Apple may shrink the iPad 3's dock connector to make room for more parts inside.
According to iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz, the iPad 3 is getting a new Smart Cover that protects the back of the tablet too. It'll have a rear backing made of fibreglass to keep the iPad 3's aluminium casing from getting scratched.
Reports on when the iPad 3 will launch vary. If you average it all together though, it looks like the new tablet will launch in mid-March. Apple will announce the iPad 3 on March 7, so we're guessing it'll go on sale a week or so after that.