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Apple iPad 3: Rumors, Analysis and Predictions

Apple iPad 3: Rumors, Analysis and Predictions
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Apple is expected to unveil the next iPad in early March. What can we expect to see in Cupertino's next must-have device?

Apple’s iPad flipped the tablet world upside down in 2010, but thankfully the accelerometer kicked in and the image righted itself.

Seriously though, the original iPad, and 2011’s iPad 2, are due some credit for transforming Apple into one of the most financially successful companies of this still-young millennium. The original was virtually by itself in 2010, with no real competition in sight. When Android tablets like the Motorola Xoom finally started shipping in 2011, the iPad 2 arrived shortly thereafter, packed to the gills with a dual-core CPU, powerful GPU, exceptional app offerings, and a solid ten hours of battery life when put to the test. Most Android-based offerings could match the iPad 2 in one or several areas, but it took months for some legitimate competition to finally surface. And some contenders did indeed hit the market in the spring and summer, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Acer Iconia Tab A500. Extra features like USB and HDMI ports called to potential buyers, while Android 3.0 (also known as Honeycomb), came into its own after several updates.

As it stands today, the best tablet available is indeed an Android device. Unless you’re already married to Apple’s services and software, the Asus Transformer Prime tablet is the killer device, with its quad-core Tegra 3 internals, Android 4.0 (or Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, fantastically bright display, and best-in-class 8 megapixel camera. Of course, there’s a pretty good chance you already own an iPad 2, and shifting from an iOS to Android is no easy task – and you can kiss your entire app collection goodbye. Odds are you’re waiting on the next iPad, as the migration from one iOS device to another is – in theory – pretty painless.

So when will this Cupertino Unicorn (trademarked, patent pending) emerge from the clouds and drop onto your laps and into your faux-hipster messenger bags? That’s where the rumors, and our predictions, come into play. We’ll be looking at every other aspect of this mythical-but-soon-to-be-very-real tablet, including its design and physical specs, internal hardware (CPU, GPU), optics, and display.

[Cover Image via Wondrous Pics]

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  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2012 7:44 AM
    "Apple will unveil the iPad 3 early next month."

    Shouldn't this read "Apple IS EXPECTED TO unveil the iPad 3 early next month," or do you have hard evidence to back your claim? Rumor and expectations, however probable they may be, are not facts.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2012 9:15 AM
    "The iPhone 4S still has the best-looking screen in the smartphone world because of this tech (although the Galaxy Nexus is a close second)"

    So both have indistinguishable pixels but the OLED one entirely covers the sRGB gamut and has an essentially infinite contrast ratio, yet the IPS one is somehow superior? I thought I was on Tomsguide, not Engadget.
  • -1 Hide
    whitey_rolls , February 13, 2012 10:37 AM
    Still predicting a quad core processor? Didn't Apple already come out and say they would be putting another dual core processing in the Ipad 3?

  • 0 Hide
    dconnors , February 13, 2012 3:00 PM
    Thanks for commenting, guys.

    TK_Sam"Apple will unveil the iPad 3 early next month."Shouldn't this read "Apple IS EXPECTED TO unveil the iPad 3 early next month," or do you have hard evidence to back your claim? Rumor and expectations, however probable they may be, are not facts.


    I have zero reason to believe that the iPad 3 (or iPad 2S) isn't coming next month, hence the statement. But I did edit it, because as sure as I am that the next iPad is coming in March, it's still speculation.

    nexusCFX"The iPhone 4S still has the best-looking screen in the smartphone world because of this tech (although the Galaxy Nexus is a close second)"So both have indistinguishable pixels but the OLED one entirely covers the sRGB gamut and has an essentially infinite contrast ratio, yet the IPS one is somehow superior? I thought I was on Tomsguide, not Engadget.


    I have eyes on both displays virtually every day. Frankly it's a 1A/1B kind of comparison...if the iPhone 4S display is a perfect 10, the Galaxy Nexus is a 9.5 or 9.75. It's so close that I wouldn't consider it a dilemma for consumers.

    whitey_rollsStill predicting a quad core processor? Didn't Apple already come out and say they would be putting another dual core processing in the Ipad 3?


    No, Apple has yet to make any definitive statement on the iPad 3 hardware, as far as I know. It seems like popular thought is swinging back the other way - towards a higher-speed dual-core design - but I'm not so sure.

    -Devin Connors, Tom's Guide
  • 0 Hide
    peevee , February 13, 2012 6:43 PM
    More cores, more pixels... Boring.
    Useless too. Law of diminishing returns in full force here. Even 2 cores were too many.
    Make it cheap, unbreakable, long-lasting without recharge and easily viewable in sunlight (Mirasol?) and I will buy it. For vacations.
  • -1 Hide
    peevee , February 13, 2012 6:49 PM
    "The original iPad shipped with the A4 SoC, a 1 GHz single-core CPU paired with a PowerVR SGX535 GPU. The iPad 2’s A5 pulled and Emeril and kicked things up a notch, packing a dual-core 1 GHz CPU and slightly more powerful SGX543. "

    SGX543 is not "slightly" more powerful than SGX535, it is _insanely_ more powerful. Almost Playstation 3/Xbox 360 powerful.
  • 0 Hide
    peevee , February 13, 2012 7:03 PM
    "Final Prediction: The iPad 3 comes to market with a quad-core A6, likely clocked at 2 GHz. "

    Absolutely unlikely. At 2 GHz, power consumption (and heat dissipation) is astronomical by mobile standards, and you can only optimize consumption in a certain range on the same process (if you make it OK for 2GHz, it is not going to work well on 1GHz, and vice versa). Transformer Prime is only 1.3GHz by the way, and for a reason.
  • 0 Hide
    peevee , February 13, 2012 7:04 PM
    nexusCFX"The iPhone 4S still has the best-looking screen in the smartphone world because of this tech (although the Galaxy Nexus is a close second)"So both have indistinguishable pixels but the OLED one entirely covers the sRGB gamut and has an essentially infinite contrast ratio, yet the IPS one is somehow superior? I thought I was on Tomsguide, not Engadget.


    Unfortunately, as much as I like the technology, OLEDs still have very low maximum brightness compared to LCDs.
  • 0 Hide
    dconnors , February 13, 2012 7:33 PM
    peevee"Final Prediction: The iPad 3 comes to market with a quad-core A6, likely clocked at 2 GHz. "Absolutely unlikely. At 2 GHz, power consumption (and heat dissipation) is astronomical by mobile standards, and you can only optimize consumption in a certain range on the same process (if you make it OK for 2GHz, it is not going to work well on 1GHz, and vice versa). Transformer Prime is only 1.3GHz by the way, and for a reason.


    I corrected the prediction, and thanks for the clarification. The 2 GHz figure came from a reference design a while back, and we never followed up on the speed once the TF201 came out. Whoops!

    Also, peevee: Use the edit button...no one needs to make four posts in a row, dude.

    -Devin Connors, Tom's Guide
  • 0 Hide
    billtech , February 16, 2012 1:25 PM
    I've been using apple since apple II, and am very disappointed in the way they are going.
    1. I'll won't buy another iphone (I've bought 3) until they make one with a bigger screen.
    2. I won't buy a ipad (never bought one) until they make one with a SMALLER 7" screen.
    3. I'm disgusted with the huge slow down that the iOS 5 brought to my iphone 4.
    and, ALL of them, iphone, ipad, STILL have the two main problems: no search back in calendar more than one rolling year! and search will not bring you to the string you searched for IN the document, just TOO the document! I have a lot of data on my iphone, including lots of LARGE documents, that I do not want to try to scroll through to find any string I need to find. apple= idiots.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 16, 2012 6:30 PM
    A Series6 GPU sounds very unlikely to me. AnandTech said in Jan "The only SoC announced to use Series 6 so far is ST-Ericsson’s Nova A9600, which is not scheduled to arrive until sometime in 2013. Given the fabrication ramp-up schedule for most SoCs, any Series 6 equipped SoC is still a year out if not more"
  • 0 Hide
    ipaidnothing , February 26, 2012 8:34 AM
    Can't wait for the iPad 3. But then again, maybe we've all just been brainwashed by Apple Marketing!

    Free iPhone 4S
  • 1 Hide
    elisa_45 , March 5, 2012 7:19 AM
    Well, since we have no idea about when an iPad 3 will be released and what it might feature, it's I think impossible to offer any informed opinions. Whether or not any of the rumors, which have been all over the map, will bear any resemblance to the facts we cannot know. You'll just have to make your best guess, as we all will, and either decide that the current iPad is atractive enough to cause you to buy now, or through a payday cash advance, or that you want to wait until the next model of iPad is released, whenever that happens, and see.
  • 0 Hide
    technologyfeed , December 4, 2012 5:16 PM
    ipad mini is alot better then ipad 3
    http://technologyfeed.net/
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