The iPad 2 is out, and the rumour factory’s already moved on: it’s predicting iPad 3 specifications including chips, cameras and retina displays – with a little bit of help from mysterious, unnamed people who can’t possibly be identified. How very convenient. So what’s the word on the street about the next iPad? First, our colleagues at T3.com have rounded up the latest rumours in the iPad 3 video below:
iPad 3 release date
This is the biggest rumour of all: an iPad 3 mere months after the iPad 2. An unnamed Apple employee says that theiPad 2 was a bit of a rush job, and “the third generation iPad is the one to make a song and dance about.” Respected Apple watcher John Gruber added fuel to that particular fire by strongly hinting that the iPad 3 release date will be in September 2011. Gruber, who was musing about the HP TouchPad‘s potential summer release said: “Summer feels like a long time away. ”If my theory is right, they’re not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3.” If Gruber is right about this and the iPad 3 features in an Apple autumn line-up, then it looks like Apple is going to start offering a new iPad every six months.
The iPad 3 UK release date is a mystery With Apple apparently unable to meet demand for iPad 2, we’d expect a staggered release date for the iPad 3 too: if the US gets the iPad 3 in September, we’d expect the UK iPad 3 release date to be in October, or possibly even November. Apple won’t want to miss the Christmas period, but the US comes first.
The iPad 3 specs include a dual-core processor It’s possible that the iPad 3 will have a brand spanking new processor, Apple’s A6, but if the rumoured release date is correct then time is awfully tight: we’d certainly expect to see an A5, not an A6, in the iPhone 5 when it turns up this summer. Apple may well surprise us, of course, but we’d expect to see the same processor and graphics as the iPad 2 in the iPad 3: an A5 processor with PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics. This one comes down to the iPad 3 release date: if it’s 2011, expect an A5. If it’s 2012, expect a faster A6.
iPad 3 display A retina display was widely predicted for the iPad 2, but of course the current iPad doesn’t have a double-resolution display: for now, that’s something you’ll only get in the iPhone 4. Could a Retina Display be one of the features Apple didn’t quite get into the iPad 2? Could be! It’s the very first thing on our iPad 3 wish list. Rumours of an HD screen on the iPad 3 gathered pace on 12 April 2011 when Digitimes reported that Apple is asking panel makers to provide screens that are capable of displaying higher image quality than the iPad 2. On 26 May 2011, we reported that the iPad 3 could launch with a Samsung-made AMOLED screen, following rumours that Apple has been in talks on the matter with Samsung execs.
The iPad 3 hardware could include an NFC chip Apple’s very interested in Near Field Communications, and one particularly tasty rumour at Cult of Mac suggests that the iPhone 5 will use NFC to take over nearby Macs, enabling you to use your data and settings with a flick of the wrist. Since the iPad 3 will follow the iPhone 5, if NFC’s in one it’ll probably be in the other too.
The iPad 3 specifications will include more storage The iPad 2 has the familiar 16/32/64GB storage options, but as flash storage comes down in price a 128GB option for the iPad 3 isn’t impossible – although that might depend on the current horrible situation in Asia, where the tsunami has caused chaos in parts of the electronics industry.
The iPad 3 features could include a Thunderbolt port Two generations of USB-free iPads suggest that Apple just isn’t interested in adding one, but the new Thunderbolt port found in the 2011 MacBook Pro could be another story: it’s a combined accessory/display connector with astonishingly fast performance.
The iPad 3 may live in the cloud This has been talked about and leaked about for so long that, on the same principle that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, it’s bound to come true eventually: a cloud-based MobileMe for storing your stuff on Apple’s servers. A new iPad with iOS 5 and a new MobileMe would be lots of fun.
The iPad 3 specs might include an SD card slot This was widely predicted for iPad 2 and, like the retina display, didn’t materialise. One for version 3, perhaps? Using a separate adapter to read camera cards is rather inelegant and clunky.
The iPad 3 specification should include a better camera The rear-facing camera on the iPad 2 isn’t brilliant: an iPhone 4 camera and flash would do nicely.
The iPad 3 could feature a carbon fibre case Apple has hired a carbon fibre expert, senior composites engineer Kevin Kenney, fuelling speculation that the next iPad could be encased in the lightweight material.
The iPad 3 price might be higher than the iPad 2 The iPad 2 didn’t herald a price hike, but if the iPad 3′s coming in September we don’t think a massive iPad 2 price cut is very likely – which suggests that if the iPad 3 does appear then, it might be more of an iPad Pro – with a price to match.