The much-anticipated iPad 3 announcement and release date is probably imminent, as Apple have previously chosen dates in January or March to show off each new iPad.
With the commotion from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) now over (and a notable absence by Apple, who never attend), and the important-if-you’re-a-student iBooks 2 keynote out of the way, the next event to mark in your diary is the iPad 3 release date.
The late Steve Jobs’ birthday was on February 24th, so it would seem fitting and oh-so Apple to announce the iPad 3 on this day. Either way we won’t have much longer to find out, as the iPad 2 has already been out nearly a year and is due for an upgrade any time soon.
The Apple Rumour Mill
Wild rumours about the latest device continue to swirl, and seemingly every day an Asian parts manufacturer leaks mysterious photos of what might be in the iPad 3, such as a new camera module with previously unseen part numbers, new cases with different port positions, or circuit board sections with unfamiliar layouts.
Added to that, industry analysts just love to speculate endlessly about the iPad 3 capabilities and features, apparently tipped off by “reliable sources”, but they are invariably only educated guesses and most new features are fairly predictable anyway.
All in the Name
Nobody even knows whether Apple will call the new model the iPad 2S or simply the iPad 3. The established iPhone schedule is a two-year design cycle with a major revamp (iPhone 4) followed by a relatively minor update (iPhone 4S). This wouldn’t please fickle consumers who are expecting major advances in the iPad 3.
iPad 3 Features
What new features will the iPad 3 have? Here are some not inconceivable possibilities:
- Screen: a double resolution 2048 x 1536 “retina display” and better colour definition
- Camera: an improved 8 MP (at least) rear camera, better optics and an LED flash
- CPU: a blazingly fast custom quad-core CPU/GPU combo known as the A6
- NFC: an integrated NFC (Near Field Communications) chip for e-payments
- Memory: an increase to 1 GB of built-in memory and 32/64/128 GB of storage
- Form Factor: A slightly thinner profile and Gorilla Glass 2 screen panels
- OS: it will have iOS 5.1 upon release, and Siri voice recognition baked in
There are some sound reasons to expect some of these features. For example, many of Apple’s iPad apps (such as the just-released iBooks 2) include two sets of graphics and icons – one set for the iPad and another set which are twice the resolution but currently unused. The same thing happened when the iPhone 4 was released with the Retina Display and an insanely high pixel density screen – developers could include two versions of graphics, one for the old model and one for the new.
Roll on February
There’s not long to wait and the rumours already suggest Apple are gearing up to announce the iPad 3 in February or March. The original iPad release date was January 2010 and the iPad 2 in March 2011, so an iPad 3 release date of February or March seems feasible. Such events are usually held at the huge Moscone Centre in San Francisco, or even at the Apple HQ in Cupertino.
We can feel the excitement starting to build already…
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