We know that the next generation of the iPad arrives today, March 7, but the internal specs and software remain a mystery. Will it have a Retina display? 4G? Quad-core power? And what about Siri?
With so many rumors swirling, it's hard to know what features will make it into the final product--and, since there's been talk of an 8-inch iPad, how many "final products" there will be. Still, it's fun to review what has been said thus far. In anticipation of the new iPad's official arrival, here's a quick recap of what to expect.
March 7 Announcement, Unknown Sale Date
We'll know more about the next iPad on Wednesday, March 7, when Apple holds its press conference at the Yuerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco. Sources like iMore and All Thing D caught early wind that Apple would hold a presser the first week of March, and thanks to an official Apple invite, that's confirmed. Still no word on when the new slate will hit stands, but Bloomberg believes the big day will come before the end of the month.
Sources:Apple, Bloomberg, iMore, All Things D
Display: Double the Resolution?
One of the first iPad 3 rumors to surface was about the tablet's display, with the Wall Street Journal reporting in August that Apple would use a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 (QXGA) display in the new tablet (as opposed to the iPad 2's 1024 x 768 resolution). CNET and DigiTimes had a similar story in mid January, claiming that LG Display and Sharp will manufacture 6 to 7 million iPad 3 screens in the next two and a half months. With Android tablets announced at CES that sport 1900 x 1200 full HD screens, such as the Transformer Prime TF700T and the Acer Iconia Tab A700, Apple's slate could very well leapfrog the competition.
In January, Bloomberg cited sources who say the new iPad 3 will ship with a faster quad-core processor, a rumor that's since been published by everyone from Engadget to Mac Rumors.BGR even reported leaked photos that appear to confirm that the tablet will run a quad-core A6. But not so fast— The Verge reported that it might be just a dual-core processor, as seen in the iPad 2, after all.
The iPad 2's rear 720p camera has received plenty of flack for its mediocre image quality, but BGR says the iPad 3 will upgrade to a 8-megapixel shooter on par with the cam on the iPhone 4S. Additionally, the front-facing camera could support HD FaceTime video chats. iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz was the first to report this, via Twitter.
Citing a leaked image of the iOS 5.1 beta 3, 9to5Mac hinted that Apple could be adding Siri dictation functionality to the upcoming iPad. The beta shows a menu section for "Dictation and Privacy," a feature that is not available on current models of the tablet. It's unclear if this means that the iPad 3 will offer only voice recognition capabilities for dictation or whether Apple will be porting the entire Siri experience to its new slate.
Could the iPad finally get an upgrade to 4G? The Wall Street Journal thinks so. The website reported that both AT&T and Verizon will sell iPad 3 tablets with 4G LTE connectivity. Looking back, CNET reported as early as November that the iPad 3 will likely run Qualcomm's 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip. Bloomberg's January report on the iPad 3 also cited sources that said 4G LTE capability is likely to make its way to the tablet, and Forbes was on board with this story, too. (We're curious to see how long the iPad 3 lasts on a charge with LTE on, as the technology certainly zapped the runtime of other 4G tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 on Verizon.
DigiTimes, that constant purveyor of iPad 3 rumors, of course claims to have the skinny on the iPad 3's battery. The site said the next tablet will have an increased battery capacity of 14,000mAH (compared to 6,500mAH for the current version). ZDNet reported a similar story, though there's no word on how much longer the new tablet will last on a charge. Perhaps Apple went this route to offset battery life drain from LTE.
DigiTimes made waves when it added a new twist to the iPad 3 rumor mill: Apple may release two versions of the device, one higher-end model and one moderately priced option. (The story in question has since been restricted to site subscriber access only.) However, BGR posted leaked photos that indicate the upcoming tablet will simply ship with two different connectivity options: Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus global LTE. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple presented an 8-inch iPad with a resolution comparable to the current tablet to hardware suppliers in Asia. But demo'ing the device with component makers likely means the 8-inch slate won't be ready for public eyes this year.