It seems no matter how much Apple likes to keep their projects a secret, there are aways people with loose tongues here and there that let things slip. One of the files that is certainly marked Top Secret in thick felt tip pen at Apple HQ is the when and what the iPad 3 is going to include. UPDATED March 7, 2012. See also: New iPad review.
Being of sound body and mind here at PC Advisor (just) we've decided to neatly compile what we call a Rumour Round-Up, of all of the sordid rumours that we've heard in the tea rooms around the world about the elusive iPad 3.
So sit back, read, enjoy and then spread these rumours far and wide, in the hope that some of the better ones are true. Follow the Apple iPad 3 launch live with our liveblog from the event: Live: Apple iPad 3 launch.
Apple's online store down for maintenance = New iPad definitely on the way (rumour date 7/3/2012)
Whenever Apple is about to launch a major new product, it shuts down the Apple Store website, updated the site with the new product and then sets it live after the press conference. And guess what? Apple has just temporarily disabled access to its online store.
This all but confirms what we've all been predicting for a long a while now, a new iPad (and possibly something else) is on its way. Interestingly, Apple usual shuts down its website half an hour before it launches a new product. So eyebrows have been raised today, as to why Apple has opted to extend its store downtime from half an hour to two and a half hours. Will more than just an iPad be launched today, or are we reading too much in to this?
No Quad-core processor (rumour date 7/3/2012)
A quad-core CPU is overkill at this point. Apple will tweak the existing A5 dual-core CPU or come out with a modestly improved A5. The CPU performance gains will be amplified by more significant improvements to iPad graphics and video processing, in hardware and software, which have the added benefit of showcasing the improved display.
For mobile devices, performance can be influenced by a lot of variables besides raw CPU power. Apple can afford to wait for at least a year to create an iPad with a quad-core A6 chip.
Ben Camm-Jones, Macworld UK - Our colleagues over at Macworld.com in the US have received the official invite which reads: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."
The image (pictured) in the invite shows a hand and what appears to be an iPad.
The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco at 10am Pacific Time on Wednesday 7 March, which is 6pm GMT.
It's the iPad HD, not the iPad 3 (rumour date 6/3/2012)
It looks like the iPad 3 is going to follow the iPhone 5 launch...and not happen! Well, sort of. Technology website VentureBeat is reporting that a "reliable source" has told them that the new Apple tablet will be called the iPad HD; thanks to its new high-resolution 2,048 x 1,536 display.
The website went on to announce that although rumours of a 7-inch iPad are true, a smaller version of the iPad won't be available until later in the year.
iPad 3 is a precursor to a smaller 7-inch iPad (rumour date: 24/2/2012)
Two stock analysts are predicting that iPad 3 will only be the first Next iPad launched in 2012. The second: a "smaller, more affordable" iPad with a 7-inch screen and a price tag of USD $299.
That's according to a story at EE Times by Sylvie Barak. It's just the latest version of a persistent, months-long iOSsphere conviction that the idea of a smaller iPad is simply so sound that Apple must be planning it.
In this newest prediction, the iSmall will be considered the affordable iPad, with iPad 2, repriced lower, taking the mid-range, and iPad 3 at the high-end, according to Brett Simpson and Richard Kramer of Arete Research. EE Times quoted from their assessment: "Given the iPad 3 aims to use higher spec parts (quad-core CPU, higher resolution display, LTE, and improved camera) there is plenty of scope to offer a cost down model supporting -USD$100 lower bill of materials."
iPad 3: To have 4G, and will be announced 7 March (rumour date: 14/2/2012)
Separate reports that have surfaced this week claim that the third-generation iPad will be 4G ready and launch on 7 March.
The 4G claim comes from the Wall Street Journal, which says that customers of US network carriers Verizon and AT&T will be able to hook up to super-fast 4G wireless networks with the new device which will be announced in the first week of March.
A separate report on the iMore blog claims that the iPad 3 announcement will take place on Wednesday 7 March. iMore's sources also believe that 4G capability is possible and again raises the prospect of a quad-core processor - something that many were dismissing only last week.
iPad 3 will have "truly amazing screen" (rumour date: 13/2/2012)
The third-generation iPad has a "truly amazing" display, an Apple employee is reported as saying. The New York Times quotes the anonymous employee as saying that the new iPad is "essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2".
There will also be a new, faster processor, the source told the NYT. However, the article casts some doubt on whether the device will actually be called the iPad 3 at all.
iPad 3 will launch in first week of March (Rumour date: 9/2/2012)
The Apple rumour machine has gone into overdrive today because respected website (in Apple rumour circles) All Things D reported that sources familiar with Apple's plans have tipped them that the iPad 3 with be launched in the first week of March. The website even stated that the unveiling event will take place at the popular Apple venue, the Yerna Nuena Center for Arts in San Francisco.
All Things D went on to say the new tablet's specs are "pretty much" as reported, but specified that it would include the 2048x1536 Retina Display and a "much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit.
Excatly when the device is set to go on sale is still unknown, but if we look towards history for clues, we know that Apple like to strike while the iron is still reasonably hot and devices usually go on sale one or two weeks after launch events; as did the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.
Unsuprisingly Apple have yet to confirm this rumour stating one of their favourite catch-phrases the company does "not comment on rumours or speculation"
New camera, new LCD and bigger battery… (Rumour date: 9/2/2012)
Pictures of the 'new iPad 3' back housing have emerged on the RepairLabs blog that - if real - suggest there are some significant hardware upgrades.
On the repair labs blog they have included a picture with detailed labels and explanations as to how each section of the 'iPad 3 back housing' is different to the iPad 2.
A. New logic board mount.
B. More space for a bigger battery.
C. Camera is different size and shape (no specs available)
D. LCD has different mounting device, which heavily suggest the iPad 3 will feature a new and improved screen and previously rumoured.
The blog goes on to report, that the iPad 3 does not appear to be any thicker than the previous model.
Images 'show iPad 3 with quad-core chip' (Rumour date: 6/2/2012)
The iPad 3 has a quad-core processor which will be known as the A6 and has the codename S5L8945X, if some recently-taken photographs are to be believed.
The BGR website published the photos which it claims come from a source who has an iPad 3 prototype in his or her possession.
The images show output from the supposed iPad 3 running the iBoot development and debugging tool, and appear to show codes referring to next-generation iPad models as well as the reference to the new processor.
As the article informs us, the A4 processor used the code S5L8930X whereas the A5 uses the code S5L8940X. By that logic, the S5L8945X code must mean that this prototype is using an A6 processor, BGR reckons, though it seems to us that this could also be a code for a modified A5 chip.
BGR also makes the quad-core claim on the basis only of what it has been told previously, as there is no data in the images that supports this. Given the vague nature of the source and the claims, as well as BGR's questionable track record with Apple-related predictions in the past, we'd take this one with a large pinch of salt.
iPad 3 will have a high-def display because Acer just announced one (Rumour date: 3/2/2012)
While logic boards are an essential part of the Mac architecture, they're not required in the iOSsphere.
Thus, at ITProPortal.com, Desire Athow found a tidbit on a German website, about Acer unveiling a new tablet, the Iconia A700, with a high resolution screen. In his own post, he made the connection that the unenlightened would have missed:
"The Acer Iconia A700 is the first tablet on the market to come with a full HD display, a 10.1-inch IPS model with a 1920x1200 pixel resolution, which may well mean that the Apple iPad 3 will indeed have a retina display in order to catch up with the A700."
Because that's what Apple does: It catches up to competitors. It's an ironclad logic: If Company X introduces the first table with a feature better than what's on iPad 2, then it "may well mean" that iPad 3 will have it in order to catch up.
Rollup noted earlier this month that another rumor insists the iPad 3 will have a 2048 x 1536 resolution. But that would yield a pixels-per-inch of 263, or quite a bit less than what Apple currently labels as its Retina Display, which for the iPhone 4S is 326 PPI (960 x 640 pixels).
iPad 3 will be "turning point in history of Apple" not to mention the world (Rumour date: 3/2/2012)
The website iOSsphere is particularly optimistic about the impact of the next edition of iPads.
"As of now, the iPad 2 is still by far the most revered and popular tablet PC the market has ever seen, with Apple as a whole being the only true dominating presence in the field as a whole." The use of "revered" strikes just the right tone when talking about Anything Apple. "The vision of Jobs was a world where tablet PCs would eventually replace laptops and desktops, which seemed entirely implausible at the time though seems to be gathering momentum as a true possibility with each passing day."
For some of us, with each passing hour, so wondrous is it to live in the looming presence of the third-generation monumentality of the iPad 3.
And what can we expect? iOSsphere contributer Coleman is a bit vague on this, but we can be sure it will be an historic, pivotal turning point that could not be more significant. "All in all, a thinner, lighter, more powerful and endlessly more functional device is expected, though exactly how such upgrades will manifest remains privileged information we will only be privy to when Tim Cook is good and ready to share."
Given Moore's Law and All That, we usually expect thinner, lighter, more powerful devices as time goes by, so that doesn't seem like much of a monumental turning point that's gathering momentum with every passing day. But an "endlessly more functional device" is something only Apple could give us. If that Tim Cook guy wasn't such a tease.
Apple to hold iPad 3 and iOS 5.1 event in early February (Rumour date: 18/01/2012)
Japanese website Macotakara reports that two separate sources, one in the US and one in Asia, have claimed that Apple is planning an event in early February where it will reveal the iPad 3 and the next version of iOS.
Apple showed off the iPad 2 on 2 March 2011, launching it in the US on 11 March and in the UK two weeks later on 25 March.
The rumour-mongers suggest that Apple is planning for a March launch again, so it could be that with a longer lead time that an early February announcement would leave that the company is planning to launch in several international markets straightaway, rather than in the US first.
iPad 3 units 'to be shipped in March 2012' (Rumour date: 13/1/2012)
Apple assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron will ship the first iPad 3 units to Apple in early March this year, according to a report.
Macotakara claims that assembly of the units has already begun and that a Chinese source says Foxconn is manufacturing 85 percent of the units, with Pegatron making the other 15 percent.
iPad 3 to have Siri (Rumour date: 12/1/2012)
The January Wolf Moon this past week has set the iOSsphere howling with iPad 3 rumours.
Yes, the next iPad might have been seen at or near the Consumer Electronics Show, but you need a micrometer to tell the difference; the Chinese proletariat are busy as beavers assembling it; Siri for iPad is seen but alas not heard; and iPad 3 will help stem the tide of orangutan depression.
iPad 3 will actually be the iPad 2S? (Rumour date: 13/1/2012)
You'll never know, according to Jeremy Horwitz, editor-in-chief, iLounge.com, who began a Tuesday blogpost with the sensational claim, "Yesterday, one day ahead of the 2012 CES, I saw what's supposedly the next-generation iPad."
"I'd show you a picture, but there's honestly nothing to be seen," he continues. "Think iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S: this device so resembles the iPad 2 that differences are only obvious when they're placed next to each other. From the back, you could walk past this new iPad on display and have no idea that anything had changed."
Can it be true? Will Apple actually announce an "iPad 2S?"
His glimpse of whatever-it-was, which he somehow estimated to be about 6 months old, revealed to him that the next iPad's body is "roughly 1 mm" thicker than the current iPad, which would look like this. For the metrically challenged, that would be 0.03937 inches, or the thickness of JVCC FELT-06 Polyester Felt Tape.
Not much in terms of "major" or "radical" redesign here: "On the rear, the camera in the upper left corner has become bigger — noticeably so when placed alongside the iPad 2, but not so huge that anyone would think they were different at a distance," according to Horwitz. "The new camera hole is silver-ringed, and does in fact look the same size as the iPhone 4S's much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash."
iPad 3 to have Retina Display (Rumour date: September 2011)
LG Display's CEO Young Soo Kwon let slip that his company's Retina Display is being used in iPads.
Speaking to journalists about LG Display's Q2 earnings report, Kwon said that more smartphone makers will feature LG's Retina Display that "has been used in iPhones and iPads" The Korea Times states.
The fact that Kwon has said that four-letter word alone has sent the iPad 3 rumour mills into overdrive with many predicting that the next iPad instalment will feature a higher screen resolution like the ones used in the super sharp iPhone 4.
iPad 3 to actually be iPad 3D? (Rumour date: September 2011)
If you believe that the people who write the technology blog RCR Wireless have the inside line to the iPad 3 blueprints, then 3D seems to be the latest addition to the iPad.
RCR Wireless states that they have been speaking to a 'Hollywood insider' who said 'big film studios were currently running around like blue-arsed flies trying to gear up to release plenty of 3D content in time for Apple's next launch'
Sounds a bit unrealistic to us cynical old dogs at PC Advisor, but stranger things have happened. You never know...
It could have a NFC chip (Rumour date: September 2011)
The mac-heads over at Cult of Mac claim they have 'received a tip' that Apple are going to incorporate a Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless chip in the iPad 3.
A NFC could turn the iPad 3 into a security passkey, an electric wallet as well as giving you the ability to take control of a nearby Mac via your iPad. We think it would be very nice addition!
Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the major supplier of the iPad 3's backlight units (BLUs) (Rumour date: September 2011)
Story from Macworld UK: A Taiwanese firm will be the biggest supplier of backlight units (BLUs) for the iPad 3, according to reports from the region.
Digitimes says that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the dominant supplier of BLUs for the iPad 3 having been engaged by both LG and Samsung to supply BLUs for LCD panels that will in turn be supplied to Apple for the next-generation tablet.
There has been some speculation that backlight units capable of supporting a higher-resolution display, as the third-generation iPad is rumoured to have, are more bulky than BLUs used in the current iPad, making the construction of the iPad 3 problematic.
The iPad 3 will come with a stylus (Rumour date: September 2011)
Back in January, Apple filed for two patents for the stylus technology it had developed. Since then people have been continuously speculating as to whether the new iPad 3 will come with one.
We've heard it through the technology grapevine that two patents are for a stylus that produces heat and a stylus that operates via Wi-Fi. The idea behind the heat stylus is that it will produce a more receptive contact with the iPad. The idea behind the Wi-Fi stylus is that you can use it on any surface and it will wirelessly send the signal to the iPad 3.
Samsung have just announced that its Galaxy Note will use a stylus, which leads us to believe this could be a definite possibility for the iPad 3.