By Frank Ling
Predicting the features of Apple's forecoming iPad 3 are as easy as guessing the weather. Everyone knows something's coming, but no one knows exactly what. Since the iPad 2 cornered approximately 70 percent of the market for tablet sales in 2011, it’s safe to say the release of the 3’s new features continues to dominate speculation.
And we know you love some good gossip, so we’ve assembled some of the juiciest rumors about the iPad 3, set to be released this spring (iron clad prediction, right?). They seem to be the most credible, but no one ever really knows for sure unless an Apple employee gets drunk at a bar and leaves behind a prototype; we could only be so lucky.
The first iPad was announced in January 2010 and launched in April 2010. The current iPad 2 was announced on March 2, 2011, and went on sale nine days later.
Anyone see a pattern here?
So if we were betting individuals, we’d say that the iPad 3 will make its official debut sometime in March or April. Please place your wagers at the widow. I have my money on mid-March (hey, I like to hedge).
This topic, more than any other, is the one that causes geeks to drool and speculate. So-called leaks from Apple supply chain partners and insiders are so numerous, they rival those found in the Titanic. Here are the ones that keep popping up:
- New 2048 x 1536 pixel full HD Retina display
- Long-lasting 14,000mAh battery
- Quad-core processor for blazing fast performance
- 4G LTE/ GSM/CDMA Wi-Fi connectivity
- Larger, 9.7-inch screen
- Dual LED backlight bars to enhance contrast and brightness
- Increased internal storage capacity of up to 128GB
- NFC (Near field communication) for wireless data transfers to other devices
- Ability to serve you breakfast in bed (joking, kinda)
If half the above holds up, the new tablet looks like it will be an absolute beast among its competition and will offer greater performance and speed for gaming, apps and surfing. Add the new Retina display and you have a very enticing multimedia package in the palm of your hand.
The iPad 3 may be indistinguishable from its predecessor in physical terms. For those who like to show off to everyone that they have the latest tech, this isn’t good news. But it will run circles around the previous version in performance, features and cool-factor. If it does look the same, buy an iPad 3 sticker to help brag to the world.
It’s looking like iPad 3 will sell at $499 for the 16GB version with incremental increases for 36GB and 64GB versions. However, Apple has been challenged by the NOOK Tablet and Kindle Fire on the price front by offering their full-featured tablets at $249 and $199, respectively (see: Three tablets worth buying not named iPad: Fire, NOOK and Galaxy), so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of entry-level version for less than $499. Not to mention, it’s a safe bet the iPad 2 will see a price drop.
Should you buy one?
It’ll be a tough call for current iPad 2 users to decide whether to upgrade. The biggest tech geeks should and will, while others feel that having the newest tech is the only reason they need. But if you are considering the purchase of the newest addition to the iPad family, you can always soften the pain of buying the new tablet by trading your old one in to offset the cost.
Frank Ling is the SF Gadgets Examiner and has been a writer, professional photographer, video producer, video game QA trainer and video editor.