Try to contain your excitement, if you can. But various outlets are reporting that Apple will be launching its next iteration of the iPad on March 7. iMore’s Rene Ritchie fixed the date yesterday, citing “sources who have been reliable in the past”; the Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, who’s viewed as being credible for his 17 years of covering Apple products, then confirmed this with a simple “Yep” on his blog. We’ll still have to qualify this as a rumor, though.
What exactly can we hope to see from the iPad 3? The WSJ is reporting that AT&T and Verizon will be selling it (no surprise there), and that it will run on their fourth-generation networks (4G, in the common parlance). It’s not clear whether or not Apple will be looping in other carriers this time around, like Sprint and T-Mobile, but since only AT&T and Verizon are offering LTE networks right now, it seems likely that Apple will stick with those two. Verizon’s LTE network is particularly large, covering 200 million people, per the WSJ. The iPad 3 will be a real trial of fire for LTE networks though, say some sources.
A bevy of other rumors have been swirling about, related to the specs of the device. One question is whether Apple will have simply improved upon the dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor it uses, or whether it will be embracing a new quad-core processor for the iPad 3. Different sources are reporting different information on this (and no one knows for sure, of course, except Cupertino). Other rumors, many of which seem reasonable, but none of which we can confirm, are that the new iPad might have better cameras–perhaps a 5 or 8 megapixel rear camera, plus a FaceTime HD front camera. Also, that the iPad 3 might have a thicker casing, and that battery life will be longer (a likelihood).
Some of the more credible rumors relate to screen size. Bloomberg has reported that the iPad 3’s screen will have a higher resolution, with “pixels…small enough to make the images look like printed material.” And the WSJ recently came out with intriguing reports that Apple is testing a version of the iPad with a smaller screen–8 inches, as opposed to the current 9.7-inch model. This would position the Apple to better compete against smaller, cheaper tablets like the Kindle Fire. “IPad’s features are good enough but pricing would be an important factor in the mass market, especially in big emerging markets like China and India,” one analyst told the WSJ. (Of course, pricing isn’t the only problem Apple faces with its iPad in China.)
The pre-iPad release rumor mill is a journalistic Wild West, where reporters and bloggers generally feel free to let their imaginations run wild. What do you think the new iPad will look like? Will it come in a purple polka-dotted model? Will it actually be disc-shaped? Will it not only run a quad-core chip, but also be able to transform into a quadrocopter?
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