Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for the iPad 3? Sound like a prelude to a rock concert? Well, it’s not too far off given Apple products’ cult status. In fact, we are just days away from Apple's media event at Cupertino where the iPad 3 will be unveiled. I have been holding off the purchase of the iPad 2 and the Android tablet army, including the latest quad-core processor slate from a certain manufacturer, but can I resist the temptation this time round? We shall see. So before Tim Cook takes centre stage on 7 March 2012, we cut through the buzz and roundup 5 possible upgrades rumoured to be featured in Apple’s next “magical” product.
New processor is A5X, not A6 chip
A forummer from Chinese website WeiPhone posted a picture of what looks like a plausible iPad 3 logic board just a few days ago with a processor chip marked A5X. Initially, it was rumoured that the iPad 3 will be succeeded by an A6 chip after the A5 chip was used for iPad 2 and the A4 for the original iPad. However, from the 'leaked' image, the processor was clearly marked A5X, dispelling previous naming assumptions. This recent leaked image of the ‘iPad 3’ logic board also looks more believable due to the tighter circuit design. Although a quad-core chip is expected to be in the new iPad, it remains to be seen whether this A5X processor will be the one Apple fans are waiting for.
Leaked images of Apple’s next generation display has been circulating online from as early as December last year, claiming that the new iPad will come with the same high-resolution retina display of the iPhone 4 and 4S. However, MacRumors claims to have obtained a legitimate copy of the iPad 3 display recently, which led them to believe that the new tablet will have the ability to display up to a resolution of 2048x1536, twice the resolution of the iPad 1 and iPad 2. As usual, these parts were not sourced from Apple but were said to be in mass production currently.
8-megapixel camera and HD video chat
There have been numerous complaints about the iPad 2’s rear and front facing cameras. Although we have lower expectations when it comes to video chat, shooting stills at less than 1-megapixel is almost laughable for such a high-end product that costs more that a 42-inch LED TV. Pundits are expecting this area of the tablet to be a must-change and Apple Daily’s images obtained from “special sources” show that the new iPad is expected to be installed with the same 8-megapixel image sensor as the iPhone 4S. Several other sources including iLounge also predict that the front-facing camera will go high-definition, enabling HD Facetime chats with other Mac products.
4G LTE Connectivity
I mentioned in the iPhone 5 article that a lot of its new features will be dependent on iPad 3’s specifications. So, if the next iPhone is ever going to adopt the faster wireless network infrastructure, the iPad 3 with its larger battery capacity will be a good trial before Apple decides to embrace it for its other mobile devices.
BGR’s freshly released images of output data from an iPad 3 extracted using a programme called iBoot suggests that the next generation tablet will come with GSM/CDMA/LTE support for all carriers. However, there is still a slight possibility that Apple will release two versions of the new iPad, with one that doesn’t support 4G for some markets. In Singapore, 4G plans are currently available on USB dongle modems and we should enjoy islandwide network coverage for 4G towards the end of 2013.
Spy shots of the iPad 3 back cover published on MIC gadgets suggests a thicker 10-inch tablet that has a gradual taper around the edges to resolve the “light leak” issue on the iPad 2. Then again, there are also widespread reports that Apple will go head to head with Kindle Fire and launch an 8-inch mini iPad that is more affordable. However, the scariest news in my opinion, is that the new iPad will come with a ‘micro’ dock connector. The rationale for this change is to maximise every millimetre and make room for a more intricate chipset design. If I run a company that produces docking stations, speakers, and the endless list of products that has anything to do with the 30-pin connector, I will be shaking in my pants.
But whatever it is, all eyes will be on Apple this March to razzle dazzle the tech world once again. For all you know, Apple might release an iPad 2S (please don’t!). But till then, all we can do now is to sit tight as we ride out these last few days before the queue at Apple stores starts again.