Intelligent Machines

Report: iPad 3 in March

Details emerge about the next-gen Apple tablet.

Jan 16, 2012

Bloomberg has the skinny on the iPad 3, or claims to. Three is the magic number here: it took three reporters, and three anonymous sources, to bring us roughly three details about the third iteration of Apple’s tablet.

The device, in fact, is already in production, according to the report; suppliers will ramp up to full production in February, in time for what will likely be a March release. Factories are already running around the clock, though there will be a break during the Chinese New Year, reportedly. (We should hope so; Apple supplier Foxconn doesn’t have the prettiest labor record.)

And did Bloomberg’s three sources spill the beans on any specs? They did, in fact, though they were at times vague. We can expect to see a “high-definition” screen, one with more pixels than many HD TVs, and one in which “the pixels are small enough to make the images look like printed material.” A quad-core chip will enable fast toggling among applications, and extra graphics processing should mean that videos play “almost instantly.”

The most intriguing detail? The iPad 3 will be compatible with LTE. Interestingly, LTE will be coming to Apple’s tablet before its phone; reportedly this is because the tablet, with its larger battery, is able to run LTE without draining its juice embarrassingly quickly.

Jason O’Grady over at ZDNet, though, thinks that battery life is only part of the story. “A more plausible reason,” he writes, “is that Apple is waiting for mobile network technology to reach critical mass before putting it in its devices.” This is a sound argument, and one that squares with Apple’s past behavior – releasing the iPhone 4S without 4G, for instance. Though Steve Jobs famously said that “it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want,” it’s equally true that Apple doesn’t necessarily need to give its consumers what they want the instant they want it. For the iPad, though, which is more of a luxury device than an iPhone, it makes sense for it to come with this extra bell and whistle.

All in all, the iPad 3 looks to offer more of a leg up over the iPad 2 than the iPad 2 did over the original. But we’ll have to wait till March – or for a few more loose-lipped suppliers to speak up – before we know more.