Mar 06 2012

What Will Apple Unveil at Its iPad 3 Event?

The blogosphere peers into its crystal ball and takes a stab at predicting what Apple will reveal on March 7.

It’s off to the races for the latest round of Applemania. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company made an announcement during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it would hold a press event on March 7 that would include "something you really have to see. And touch." The image featured on the announcement was that of a hand using the company’s iconic tablet.

Immediately, many began trying to deduce new features from the image. The biggest theory tossed about for a few days was that the iPad 3 would not feature a home button, which has been a staple of both the iPhone and the iPad since the devices’ first iterations.

The Apple-focused tech blog Cult of Mac, however, sufficiently deflated that theory when it shared leaked pictures of the device parts from RepairLabs.

Adam Mills, an editor for GottaBeMobile, a leading mobile technology blog, has put together a few predictions on what he thinks will be included in the next iteration of the market’s best-selling tablet.

Thicker iPad, But Shape Will Remain the Same
We expect the iPad 3 to feature a design that’s similar to that of the iPad 2. It may have a tapered edge and it may be a tad thicker than the iPad 2, but other than that, we expect it look very similar.

Sharper, Richer Resolution in Retina Display
We’ve heard that the iPad 3 employs 9.7-inch display, same dimensions as the iPad 2 screen, but that it has four times as many pixels. This means the display might have a resolution of 2048×1536, which is quadruple the 1024×768 screen in previous iPads.

Improved Processor
We’re still unsure whether Apple will include a dual-core or quad-core processor in the next iPad. However, we expect that the chip that it does include inside the iPad 3 will be more powerful than the dual-core A5 processor found in the iPad 2.

For those unfamiliar with 4G LTE, it’s a next-generation cellular network that offers data speeds that can be up to 10 times faster than those of normal 3G. Right now, AT&T and Verizon are the two major U.S. carriers that employ 4G LTE while Sprint and T-Mobile have plans to introduce it in the future.

The Retina display, improved processor and similar product shape all seem like safe bets. After all, the Retina display has been kicking around in Apple’s iPhone 4 for nearly two years now. So implementing the improved screen resolution will be a cinch for Apple. And a faster processor is almost a given, especially considering the boost we saw in Apple’s iPhone 4S.

The shakiest prediction from Mills’ list is the advent of 4G LTE. Apple has been noticeably hesitant to roll out a device with 4G so far. Many expected the iPhone 4S to boast 4G capabilities, but instead Apple stuck with 3G.

There are two good reasons for this:

  1. 4G eats up battery life significantly faster than 3G.
  2. Telecoms, like AT&T and T-Mobile, are still in the process of rolling out their LTE networks. Rolling out 4G on a wildly popular device like the iPad would no doubt test the limits of what is still a new and growing technology.

What do you think Apple will include in the iPad 3? Any fun surprises like we saw with the smart covers, which were unexpectedly unveiled with the iPad 2?

For more speculation on the iPad 3, read Mills’ full post on GottaBeMobile. And for more great content from around the web, check out BizTech's 50 Must-Read IT Blogs.