Each year around this time, there’s an influx of speculation around the next Apple iPad release, and this year is no exception as the latest rumors point toward a March 7th release date. Although Apple hasn’t officially announced this yet, all online sources seem to be citing this date as if it were set in stone.
In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a number billboards for iPad 2 popping up around the city – billboard space that’s normally reserved for the latest and newest product/movie/fashion trend. So why is there so much emphasis on a product that’s been around for a year? It seems as though Apple is making a final push to sell last year’s release before iPad 3 goes on sale. Or perhaps they just want to bring the iPad brand back to the top of our minds, and prepare us for what’s to come.
iPad 3 (if that’s its name) is rumored to feature a HD screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, which is a significant upgrade to the 1024 x 768 px resolution of iPad 2. It’s also speculated that it will run on the A6 quad core processor, making it the fastest iOS device to date. Then there’s the expectation that it’ll feature 4G connectivity, which in a nutshell allows for faster cellular data transfer. A device with features like these would require greater battery capacity in order to be used as intended for a practical amount of time, and I’m sure Apple would not compromise on battery life for the iPad 3. Battery life should at least match that of iPad 2, and it’ll be interesting to see how Apple can achieve this while including all these new features.
As for the form factor, you may have seen leaked images of the iPad 3’s rear housing surfacing on the internet a couple of weeks ago. And in fact, late last year the team here at NUU actually saw and held one of these supposed rear panels. Having seen this, we’re in agreement with reports that state the next iPad will have a very similar form factor to iPad 2 (see iLounge’s scoop from CES). Like iLounge, we’re almost certain the next iPad will be ever-so-slightly thicker than iPad 2, as opposed to early reports that claimed we’ll see a thinner device. This makes sense given the issue of battery capacity that I’ve touched on above. It’s reasonable to assume that Apple will include a larger battery, resulting in a slightly thicker iPad.
With such a similar form factor, it remains to be seen whether the next iPad will in fact be named “iPad 3”. As with last year’s iPhone 4S release, we may just be getting an upgraded iPad 2S rather than a completely redesigned tablet. Of course, there are also the rumors that we may be seeing a smaller 7-8 inch version, contrary to the late Steve Job’s derision of this size category. As with all Apple speculation, no one will know what’s real and what’s not until it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. Maybe on March 7th we’ll find out for sure… or maybe not.
What features do you think the next iPad will include? What do you hope it’ll be like?