iPad 3 Rumor Roundup: Features, Release Date, Carriers

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it had sold 15.4 million iPads last quarter. That’s the equivalent to selling 109 iPads a minute. Not too shabby, especially when it was about 2 million above analysts predictions. Needless to say, Apple has sold a lot of iPads and iPad 2′s and we’re pretty sure that the company is banking on selling a lot of iPad 3′s, or whatever it’s going to be called.

We’ve heard iPad 2S thrown around as well.

However, as of right now, the iPad 3 is a mysterious beast and it likely will be until Apple makes it official. But, as is generally the case with Apple products, there are bits and pieces, otherwise known as rumors, abound.

iPad 2

The iPad 2 will likely see its successor launch in the weeks ahead.

And we’re going to put all of those pieces together for you.

From possible iPad 3 release dates to features to which carriers we think it might arrive on, it’s all here.

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Hardware

While nothing is known for certain just yet, there is some fairly credible evidence out there that suggest a number of things about the hardware features of Apple’s iPad 3 slate. As you well know, Apple makes incremental improvements to its devices year after year and the next-generation iPad will be no different. It will have some stark differences from the iPad 2 and here’s what we’ve heard thus far.

Let’s start from the very beginning, shall we?

iPad The first rumors about the iPad 3′s hardware popped up all the way back in June of 2011. At the time, some believed that Apple would announce the iPad 3 alongside the iPhone 4S.

Obviously, that turned out to be false.

Those rumors suggested that Apple was going to be including a Retina Display on its iPad 3, which would bring the screen resolution up to a whopping 2048 X 1536. Those rumors have persisted to present day.

A high-resolution Retina Display isn’t the only new feature that’s rumored to be coming with the iPad 3.

We have also heard that Apple might include a thinner, longer lasting battery. Already, the previous versions of the iPad get around 10 hours of battery life so it would be pretty impressive if Apple is able to add in a little more juice.

Speaking of juice, a fresh leak indicates that the iPad 3 will feature Apple’s new quad-core A6 processor. That information was pulled from screenshots from a debug tool called iBoot which seems to confirm the A6 chip along with another feature that has been rumored for quite some time.

4G LTE.

Apple has long been rumored to be getting into the 4G LTE game and it would appear that the iPad 3 might just be the company’s first entry. The screenshots indicate the iPad 3 has support for GSM/CDMA/LTE networks.

Design wise, we haven’t heard much other than a couple of whispers about the iPad 3 potentially being a tad thicker than the iPad 2 in order to compensate for the device’s twin bar light system.

The new light system is needed for the Retina Display.

Now how much thicker is it rumored to be?

A mere 0.7mm.

So, let’s run everything down here one more time:

  • 4G LTE Connectivity
  • Apple A6 Quad-Core Processor
  • Retina Display
  • Longer Battery Life

Cross those fingers, folks.

iOS 5Software

Believe it or not, Apple’s iPad 3 will be running some version of iOS. Sarcasm aside, Apple’s next-gen tablet has been rumored to be making its debut alongside a highly anticipated piece of software in iOS 5.1.

iOS 5.1 isn’t going to be a ground-breaking update by any stretch of the imagination but there are rumors that it could feature some new Siri integration including capturing a photo or video and the ability to disable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Speaking of Siri, might Apple include it with the iPad 3? We haven’t heard anything for sure but we wouldn’t be shocked if the personal assistant arrived with Apple’s latest tablet.

So, software-wise, we fully expect the iPad to launch with iOS 5.1 at the very least.

Release Date

Ah yes, the circus that is the Apple iDevice rumor mill. The iPad 3 unfortunately has not escaped the theatrics and there are currently a number of different rumors and theories about when Apple will make the big announcement.

Let’s rewind a bit though.

The first Apple iPad was announced in January 2012 and launched in April.

The iPad 2 was announced in March and released in March.

So, it’s pretty safe to assume that Apple is going to be making an announcement sometime within the next two months if it follows the same release cycle. And fortunately, all signs point to that happening.

The first report to drop about the iPad 3′s possible release date was all the way back in August when The Wall Street Journal reported that it wouldn’t be arriving until early 2012. Remember, some people thought that it would launch in late 2011.

Then, silence.

It wasn’t until November, after the launch of the iPhone 4S, that the rumors started trickling out again the first of which indicated that Apple would be launching the iPad 3 in March.

There have been several other reports that have agreed with that March launch date.

However, there are some other dates that have been thrown into the hat as well.

One report claimed that Apple wouldn’t be launching the iPad 3 until the summer of 2012. We sincerely doubt that that happens but this is Apple we’re talking about, not the most predictable company in the world.

In addition, February 24th has been looked at as a possible release date for the iPad 3. That date is significant because it happens to be the birthday of the company’s former CEO, Steve Jobs, who passed away last year.

Possible but March seems to be where all the arrows are pointing so that’s probably the month that you want to have on your radar as far as an iPad 3 release date is concerned.

Carriers

Last year’s iPad 2 launched on the 3G networks of both AT&T and Verizon.¬† But with the introduction of the iPhone 4S, it’s possible that Apple might launch the iPad on three carriers this year.

As we’ve told you, the iPad 3 is expected to be a 4G LTE device. AT&T and Verizon both have their 4G LTE in huge markets around the United States.

Sprint won’t have its 4G LTE network in place until the middle of 2012.

So, if Sprint is going to get the iPad, it’s either going to get it much later than AT&T and Verizon or its going to get a version that will run on its CDMA network until 4G LTE arrives.

Unfortunately, we haven’t heard any rumblings about Sprint or any of the other carriers getting the iPad 3 at launch so at this point, just assume that it’s going to launch on AT&T and Verizon and that way you’ll be pleasantly surprised if it arrives somewhere else.

Pricing

iPad 2 Pricing

Apple products are priced different around the world, and yes the iPad 3 will launch worldwide, but we’re just going to focus on the possible price of the device here in the United States.

The company launched both the original iPad and the iPad 2 with a starting price of $499. That price would and will currently net you a 16GB Wi-Fi model. The most expensive iPad in Apple’s arsenal is the 64GB Wi-Fi/3G model which checks in at $829.

We would tell you to expect the same pricing with the iPad 3 but, if you recall, it’s likely to be a 4G LTE device.

And whether or not Apple and the carriers charge a premium for that feature is currently unknown. Prices on 4G LTE devices have been dropping now that¬† there is a little bit of competition (Verizon used to have a monopoly) and because its more commonplace, so it’s possible that Apple will stick to its formula.

We, like many of you, hope it does.

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And, we like many of you, think it will.

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