It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Apple has plans to release a new iPad tablet in March, and as the time draws closer, so the rumour mill steps up a gear or three.
In the past week we’ve seen parts that supposedly make up the finished product, and heard plenty of rumours about the product itself and Apple’s plans. The wealth of news, rumours and pictures on Apple’s forthcoming tablet can seem like something of a minefield, so we’re going to do a roundup for you.
iPad 3 with Retina Display and 4G LTE Due March 7th
Reports have already told us that Apple’s next iPad will look and feel virtually identical to the iPad 2 – leading many to believe that it might be an ‘iPad 2S’. iLounge’s editor started this fire after he saw a pre-production iPad 3 behind the scenes at CES, and now pictures of casing parts have popped up online to back his estimations up.
With Apple choosing to not transfer the stunning Retina Display technology from the iPhone 4 to the iPad 2, many took it as a given that the tech would be included in the next iPad. We’ve heard reports from Apple’s manufacturers that confirm this, and recently pictures of the iPad 3 screen part next to the iPad 2 display have appeared online. The panels are said to be made by LG and Sharp and are ‘Retina Display’ quality, with a higher resolution of 2048×1536 pixels. The screen size will remain the same, as will the casing of the device itself, but the quality of the picture provided will be much, much better.
Finally, the other much-rumoured feature associated with the iPad 3 is 4G LTE connectivity. While this tech would only really be beneficial in the U.S market right now, it would set Apple’s tablet in good stead for the future. The Wall Street Journal recently weighed in on this rumour, reporting that U.S networks Verizon Wireless and AT&T will both be stocking the iPad 3 on contract with 4G SIM cards. A segment from that article reads:
“Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks, according to people familiar with the matter, as the battle to cash in on big investments in mobile broadband heats up.”
March 7th Launch Date
March 7th has become the date on many people’s lips within the past 48 hours, as rumours are rife indicating that Apple plans to announce the iPad 3 that day. iMore.com quotes “sources who have been reliable in the past”, reporting that Apple already has plans under way for an iPad-focussed event on March 7th. Apple rumour-mongers AllthingsD have also backed this up, quoting sources of their own who are familiar with Apple’s plans.
Apple launched the iPad 2 on March 11th last year in the U.S, so the estimated date for the announcement certainly fits the bill.
iPad Nano or iPad Mini
While the possibility of the iPad 3 steals the tech limelight, a rather strange rumour has crept out today, again coming from the folks at the Wall Street Journal. We’ve heard whispers of such a product before, but now WSJ is certain Apple has a smaller iPad in testing – an iPad Nano or iPad Mini, if you will.
The publication reports that a slightly smaller iPad has been made in very small quantities for Apple, and is currently being tested at their Cupertino, California headquarters. The device supposedly rocks an 8-inch screen, which would put it in direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire Tablet and other smaller tabs such as the BlackBerry PlayBook. The Wall Street Journal makes no mention of the device being released or any plans Apple may have to do so, merely confirming that such a product exists and is being tested out:
“Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple’s latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.”
The information comes from a source based in the supply industry, who also confirms that despite having a smaller screen size, this mini iPad will still pack the same resolution of 1024×768 pixels. We’re also told by the same report that the device will feature support for 4G LTE connectivity for faster web browsing and download speeds.
Of course, we highly recommend taking the news of an iPad Mini with a pinch of salt. Thanks to its sheer size and capital, Apple has the means to make such a product simply for testing purposes, and then not sell it to the general public. It does sound like a promising product however, and we’re sure Apple will want to take further action to rival Amazon’s recent offering in the tablet market.