iPad 3 specs, features and release date: What we know so far

This month has certainly been enlightening for us iOS fans. We always knew a new version of the iPad was coming, but it’s only recently that we’ve gained any clarity on what to expect from the third generation tablet. A month or so back I wrote a prediction piece on what we were likely to see, and I’m going to revisit it to discover if any of my thoughts were along the right tracks, or not.

Old prediction post, published on December 22nd 2011: http://www.todaysiphone.com/2011/12/ipad-3-spec-and-feature-prediction-same-old-rumors/

Recent leaks have all but confirmed that we will have a slightly thicker body- 1mm to be precise. This could be to do with needing more light to brighten up those extra 1.6 million pixels. It’s also unavoidable that the battery needs to be thicker to keep up with the 10 hour battery life boasted on previous models.

Yesterday’s confirmation that the Sharp display – which perfectly fits the leaked back panel – has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pretty much solidifies the rumor that we will see a much sharper pixel density. Whether or not Apple decides to name it “Retina” is yet to be seen. The density isn’t quite at the 300ppi level of the iPhone’s screen. Whatever it’s called, it will look incredible.

Back to the old post. I predicted with certainty that we would see a faster dual-core processor. The A6 chip is one rumor we can take to the bank – it’s guaranteed. We won’t see quad-core just yet, we’re not ready for it and iOS doesn’t need it. I predicted better cameras, bigger battery, same sized 9.7″ display and Siri. All but the last one are virtually confirmed thanks to the hardware leaks linked to above.

In my “possible” category I had placed the double resolution display, thicker body and iOS 5.1 with new wallpapers. Since I have the new wallpapers downloaded, that’s a dead certainty. Thicker body and higher res display are both virtually guaranteed.

So, what’s the next iPad going to look like? Imagine an iPad 2 with a Retina display – and you’re 90% there. The only visual difference will be the extra 1mm around its waist. It will have put on a couple of ounces, but it was bordering on the “too skinny” side anyway. The features I wasn’t expecting back then haven’t changed status. I’ll be surprised to see quad-core, 4G LTE capabilities, a smaller “iPad Mini”, 3D display or a carbon fibre back. If any of those appear, I’ll be convinced we’re no longer dealing with the same Apple, and start suspecting that Motorola has somehow gotten involved in Apple’s design.

In terms of release date, two have been given as possibles. Either a launch event on the 29th of Feb and a March 9th release, or, a March 7th unveiling with a March 16th release. Although it doesn’t exactly matter when it makes it to the store shelves, I’m sure it will be sometime next month. We’ll have to wait and see if I’m right.

What do you think? Do I have any of these wrong? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet.


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