iPad 3 vs iPad 2S vs iPad HD
Right from the start, we should acknowledge the fact that there are two main theories surrounding the upcoming Apple tablet: the first one claims that what we'll see will be introduced as a full-fledged, redesigned successor (iPad 3), while the second one sticks to the belief that we'll actually be treated to a slightly upgraded, refreshed model (iPad 2S).
Of course, the exact product name shouldn't bother us, as long as there are enough new features and improvement. Initially, it was rumored that the iPad 3 will come with a quad-core A6 processor - a logical move forward from the dual-core A5. However, some unofficial sources have claimed that it's also possible for us to see an iPad 2S with an enhanced dual-core A5 (A5 is the iPad 2's processor), instead of a quad-core A6.
UPDATE: According to a recent rumor, Apple's third generation tablet will be known as the iPad HD, which is a name that would clearly highlight the device's upgraded display. That same iPad HD moniker also appeared on an accessory listing not long ago. Of course, the name could be nothing but a placeholder, so nothing is certain just yet.
iPad 3 specs
processor dubbed A6, however, it will still be dual-core, but will have an overall better performance and a significantly more powerful graphics unit. As you can see, everything surround the next iPad's processor right now can fall into the category of wild speculation, and the many different takes on the matter don't really help us determine which one's the most likely. One idea is shared by all theories, though - the iPad 3 will have a faster processor! Whether it will have two or four cores, however, remains to be seen.
The screen is another vital point that's been subject to a lot of debate in the community. Obviously, the iPad 2's 1024x768 pixel, 132 ppi display isn't among the prettiest ones, due to its relatively low pixel density, so having a higher resolution in the new model seems anything but unexpected. All in all, the debate here centers around the question if the iPad 3 will have a higher-res display, or not. If yes, everyone is looking at 2048x1536 px, as this would double the pixel density of the screen, the same way that Apple once doubled the pixel density of the iPhone, when introducing the iPhone 4. If the screen size remains the same - 9.7", and it probably will, that would translate into a ppi (pixels per inch) of 264, allowing for much finer text and details, but a bigger strain on the hardware as well.
Then comes the subject of LTE. Thankfully, everyone seems to agree here that the iPad 3 should sport LTE connectivity (though it's 99% sure that there will also be a Wi-Fi-only variant), compatible with Verizon's and AT&T's 4G networks. For now, Qualcomm is seen as the most probable producer of the chip, though surprises can still be expected. Naturally, the radio is also believed to support other connectivity options such as HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev. A and B, where 4G LTE is unavailable.
Apple iPad will be thicker than its predecessor by about 1mm. And while that different won't be really noticeable to the naked eye, it sure intrigues us to know why such a measure could have been taken. The answer is that — again, according to those fellas that are said to be familiar with the matter, but no one actually knows who they are — this change was needed in order to be able to fit a larger battery, which, some say, will be able to provide a battery life that's almost twice as long. Wow! This actually sounds pretty cool, and we do hope it will turn out true. One millimeter of thickness for almost 2x the battery life - oh, we are so a-OK with that!
Of course, many people out there (with and without any internal knowledge) believe that the iPad 3 will have an upgraded camera, and we're willing to agree, though we don't expect any wonders in this respect.
UPDATE: Some claim that the next-gen iPad will drop the physical home button in favor of a capacitive one, and they even have evidence to back up that theory.
iPad 3 release date and pricing
Now, for the question that's probably in everyone's head right now. When is Apple going to finally put an end to all of this wild speculation and unveil the real thing? Once again, it's hard to find a single, solid theory that's able to make everything else seem like far-fetched guesses, but there is a couple of dates that are being suggested for us to mark in our calendars. Having in mind that the first two iPads were introduced in January and the very beginning of March , respectively, it makes sense for Apple to hold an event very, very soon.
The more optimistic forecast is that Apple will show us the device on February 29, and will then launch it sometime around March 9. The other prognosis prefers the first week of March as the time of unveiling, and then sees mid-March as the timing for the eventual release. There's one conclusion we can draw from all this - the iPad 3 should come out of hiding by mid-March at the latest.
UPDATE: Apple will be hosting an event on March 7, and it is pretty certain that the next-gen iPad will be under the spotlight. And given that new iPad accessories are reportedly already in stock at some big box retailers' outlets, we can expect the device to be made available for purchase soon after its announcement. As far as pricing is concerned, rumor has it that the next iPad will cost just as much as the iPad 2 does.
And that's pretty much all we have, folks. Now tell us - are you excited about the upcoming iPad 3? What other stuff do you think will make its way into the device? What would YOU like to see in it? We're looking forward to hearing what you think!