The iPad 3 is one of the most highly anticipated gadget launches of the year, and of course the Apple rumour machine has been running non-stop since the iPad 2 was launched around this time last year. With multiple leaks over the last few days and weeks, it looks like we’ve now got a solid idea of what this tablet will look like – and it’s quite an upgrade over last year’s iPad.
The first big upgrade comes in the display department. The original iPad and the iPad 2 both came with a 9.7” display that ran at a resolution of 1024 x 768. For the iPad 3, this has been doubled to a massive 2048 x 1536 pixels, similar to how the iPhone display was upgraded between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.
The new resolution is larger than full HD (which is 1920 x 1080) and should be the highest resolution 10” display on the market when it launches – even the top Android tablets announced thus far top out at 1920 x 1200. This upgrade seems very likely, as this resolution has been found in iOS files for months and a real 2048 x 1536 display panel has even been spotted and confirmed in the wild.
Internally, we also expect changes. The first is a shift from a dual-core A5 processor to a quad-core A6. That would put the iPad 3 level with some of its Android competitors, which use Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core chipset. There’s also speculation that the graphics processor will be upgraded once again, offering a substantial multiplier on graphical performance in games. Finally, the rear-facing camera may also be upgraded to match the iPhone 4S, which enjoys an 8 megapixel camera. While these changes aren’t quite as well documented as the resolution upgrade, they do seem quite likely.
The biggest wildcard at the moment is LTE support. 4G or LTE is quite popular in the US at the moment and is spreading around Europe, although LTE networks aren’t expected to be operational in the UK until 2015. If the iPad 3 shipped with LTE support on board, it would be a major boost to the high speed network. Some rumours have stated that the iPad 3 will have the support and launch on two American carriers that support it (Sprint and Verizon), while other rumours have denied this. This one is hard to judge – we’ll just have to wait until the iPad 3 is launched.
That launch may come sooner than you’d think. After releasing the iPad 2 on the first Wednesday of March last year, some sources have indicated that the iPad 3 would be launched on the same occasion, which this year works out to be the 7th of March. If that’s true, we’ve got less than three weeks to wait. There’s definitely some credence to that rumour as well, with many suppliers reporting limited stocks of the iPad 2. That’s a common sign that a product is about to be discontinued, which definitely would point to a new iPad coming onto the market.
It’s definitely an exciting time to be an Apple fan. What’s your take on the new tablet – does it sound like the best thing since sliced break, or is it just too good to be true? Let me know in the comments below!
William Judd is a copywriter and technology blogger based in Bristol. If you'd like to hire me or just say hello, feel free to visit my website at williamjudd.com or chat with me on Twitter.