iPad HD: Everything We Think We Know [Updated]

Everyone expects the iPad 3 to be announced tomorrow. Which in turn means there's an absolute flood of iPad 3 (or iPad HD) rumours clogging up our lives. Here's a quick guide to making sense of them.

More: Planning For Your iPad 3 Purchase

Take all of these with the usual large piles of salt. Oh, and remember: The iPad may only be two years old, but it's already such an institution that any radical shifts in design or philosophy are almost definitely out of the question (sorry, 7-inch believers). But that doesn't mean we won't see some significant changes both inside and out.

Display

One of the iPhone's most beloved features is its ultra-sharp retina display. And while the iPad 2's screen is no lightweight, a bump up in pixel density is one of the most hotly anticipated iPad 3 improvements. MacRumors claims to have obtained an iPad 3 display that confirms the bump in resolution. The display is the same size as iPad 1 and 2 screens, but has double the resolution at 2048x1536, with pixels about a quarter the size of the iPad 2's.

Android tablet displays passed the iPad last year, and since then have moved into 1080p territory, so it seems far fetched that Apple would put off upgrading the iPad's screen another year.

Guts

It's extremely unlikely that anything other than a super-fast new A6 chip will power the iPad 3, as Bloomberg and others have reported. The main question at this point seems to be whether that A6 will pack quad-core power. On one hand, competitors like the Transformer Prime have moved on to quad-core chips, and the incredible gaming and HD movie processing heft that upgrade entails. Both BGR and Bloomberg have recently reported that the A6 will indeed be quad-core. But for what it's worth, Apple has shown in the past that it's willing to stand pat if it feels a spec is more than good enough for the next generation, like it did with the iPad 2's 512MB of RAM.

Speaking of RAM, if we're going to take the retina display rumours seriously, it would make sense that the RAM would finally see an upgrade in the iPad 3. The iPad 2's 512MB, like the iPhone 4S's, was buffered by the symbiotic relationship between software and hardware. But it stands to reason that the brute force required to push the massive number of pixels a 10-inch retina display would require a memory upgrade. File that under pure speculation.

Camera

iLounge cited several sources saying the iPad 3 will have an HD front-facing camera for HD Facetime. This would make a lot of sense, considering that quality front-facing cameras have found their way into phones like the Lumia 900 and people use their tablets for video chat much more than their phones.

It's worth mentioning here that while many of these hardware upgrade rumours seem inevitable, we thought the same about the whoops-that's-not-happening-iPhone 5. So keep that enthusiasm curbed until the official announcement.

Network

BGR recently leaked debug screenshots of what it claimed was proof of both that fancy new A6 processor and global 4G LTE, and Japanese blog Macotakara reported similar network details around the same time. Bringing LTE to the iPad before the iPhone would make sense, because the iPad's larger battery can handle the 4G drain. Then again, a 4G iPad would almost certainly portend a 4G iPhone this year, and it's not at all clear that Apple considers the global 4G network mature enough to hop on just yet.

Giz Au Editor's Note: It's also well worth pointing out that even if Apple does ship an LTE iPad 3/HD, it doesn't automatically follow that it'll be on Australian-LTE friendly frequencies. There's always the possibility that we'd either get an HSPA-only iPad, or an LTE iPad with lesser functionality until suitable networks emerge — if ever.

Siri

iOS 6 is still a long way off, but the iPad 3's software warrants a quick mention because it might be the first non-iPhone 4S Apple product to get Siri, as some details in the iOS 5.1 beta reference the iPad in Siri Dictation.

Australian Availability

Apple has officially set March 7 (March 8th in Australia) as the date for an announcement. But what does that mean for Australian availability?

On the plus side for those keen on all things iPad, Apple has sent a few Australian journalists over to San Francisco; that's not something that they'd do just for the sake of it, so presumably that means that something being announced tomorrow that'll be on sale in Australia relatively promptly.

That doesn't mean that everything that Apple announces tomorrow will go on sale in Australia; Apple's complex content deals — especially as they may relate to HD content — could restrict some services and products to the US only for the time being.

Design

The one thing that's almost certainly not changing about the iPad is its overall look. Apple's had wild success with the size and shape, and there's no reason to rock the boat now. The WSJ has said that the company is testing out an 8-inch counterpart, but it almost certainly won't become an actual product. The only changes that could happen would be a very slightly thicker build if it needs to compensate for a retina display and/or a larger battery.

Update: After taking a closer look at the image in Apple's announcement for the iPad 3, we're almost certain that the iPad will have a high definition display. Additionally, because the image appears to be taken in portrait mode, it seems like it may not have a home button either.

WATCH MORE: Tech News


Comments

    I don't care much for the screen resolution. I find the current screen just fine. All I want is a iPad that has more then 64GB of storage. Don't get me wrong, 64 is fine, but Apple are going on like tablets will replace laptops. If that's the case why not make a iPad with 150gb storage? I would all so like to see 1gb of RAM. It's just a given that siri will come out of beta and we will see it on the iPad current gen and new.

      Siri has to work before it comes out of beta and right now it doesn't work very well.

      I'm the other way around. I've started to really notice the low resolution of my iPad2. Visible pixel structure is instantly apparent from normal viewing distances, and the pixel density is way too low for crisp clear text with no blockiness or aliasing. I find this quite distracting while reading for extended periods.

      Ever since being spoilt by the ultra crisp 326ppi screen of my iPhone4, every other mobile screen (apart from the new wave of 720p Android phones) has looked old and chunky to my eyes.

      Storage on the other hand doesn't worry me as much, as these days I tend to stream most media content from my home server or Dropbox. The only real reason I would like more storage is when travelling, to hold a few extra HD films, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to spend all the extra cash just for that privilege.

      My wishlist:
      Quad Core
      1GB Ram
      2048x1536 screen (4x the pixel count of the iPad2)
      Landscape stereo speakers (won't happen, but I can dream)
      Siri (just because)
      Improved cameras (not that phased about this, but I think it's a given anyway)
      A nice new bootrom level security flaw for hackers to exploit and turn into an easy jailbreak :)

      .

        Siri is a joke... Goes to show how powerful the marketing machine is to flog a phone that looks exactly the same as the previous model where the best new feature doesn't work!

          Remember the iPhone 4S has a great 8MP camera with improved low light sensor, optical stabilisation, 1080p video, and a dual core a5 processor. Could it have been better? Definitely, but its hardly surprising that Apple milked the current aesthetic design and screen size for another year, when they new it would still sell so well.

          I didn't buy a 4S as I'm on contract with my iPhone4 (and I'd agree its not enough of an upgrade from an iPhone 4), but I definitely would have upgraded from a 3GS.

          Regarding Siri, I'm not a huge fan of it at this stage, given Apple are yet to add location based features for Australia. At the moment its more about the things you can do with Siri when jailbroken. There's a ton of great new tweaks out in Cydia, where you can program Siri to perform pretty much any operation you can think of.

          I'm not saying Siri is perfect, and I agree that Siri should never have been THE stand out feature for the iPhone 4S. Even Apple admit that it's still in beta, so it should have rolled out as an iOS feature to all devices (given it runs just fine on a jailbroken iPhone4 or 3GS).

          How is it a joke? Siri on my 4S works great - the only issues I've had are me talking too fast for it catch what I'm saying and even then, that's rare. Otherwise I've never had a problem and combining it with Wolfram Alpha makes it actually useful. It's an assistance app, not a "control everything" feature. Sounds to me like you've never used it, or you're just talking spitefully.

        I've had my iPad 2 for almost a year, and just went from an android phone to iPhone 4S. It's lovely but now the ipad res looks so blurry :( bastards! :P

        My wishlist:

        OLED display
        12 or 16bit color per pixel (we need BETTER pixels, not just MORE!)
        Quad-Core
        1 or 2gb RAM
        128gb+ storage.
        Pressure-sensitive touch
        Touch accuracy <6mm

    Although I don't think I'd ever buy an iPad, back when the improvements were needed for a smooth experience I used to read all these articles and give a crap about the new product launching.

    Now that everything is smooth anyway it's just a dick swinging competition about higher specs, so who cares?

    If it runs smoothly with no noticeable UI lag, I don't see the reason to get too excited about next years replacement re-hashed product.

      That is until you see just how good a 2048x1536 10" screen will look (hopefully ;) )

      I have to disagree with you there. While there is a lot of 'dick swinging' comparison in gadgets, and yes even apple gets into it a little (tho much less than others), things like the retina, camera and cpu stuff aren't really about that for apple. They have the retina display 'cause it looks damn good. And they have faster cpus to do things that require them (e.g. siri, which I'm not that blown away by, but still).

      Yeah, I guess megapixel counts for cameras is kind of a climbing game, but they're not as bad as some others. Fact remains, Apple really seems to up specs for reasons, rather than just for bragging rights.

    lol to when the release an ipad 2s with a better processor and siri and dissapoint everyone!

    What happened to the rumors about a changed docking port connector.

      The docking port rumor comes from a patent from last year for a much smaller 30 pin connector; the impetus for the patent presumed that phones would soon be thinner than the 30 pin port that's out now.

      The only way they would need that would need that for iPad would be a thinner one, or maybe to make space for larger battery.

      Of course, they could surprise us all with a thunderbolt/usb 3.0 hybrid connection, but I doubt it.

        The next logical step would never be to put USB 3.0 in it... where does Apple use USB 3.0? rather than use 3.0 they held back a couple years and then released thunderbolt... the next step would be to install thunderbolt for super fast syncing!

        I personally can't use it cuz I got the mid 09 MB pro which is now a little out-dated but still running beautifully with a 500gb upgrade =] Live strong veterans! =p

    Shouldn't this article be tilted: "iPad 3: Everything We Have No Idea About ... but like to make it Up"

      Funnily enough, every single paragraph is externally sourced, with pages from Bloomberg, iLounge, Macotakara... so if you were gonna run that route, the most apt title would be "A Collaboration of Everything That Other Companies Have Said About iPad 3". However, I found this article quite interesting, even though i'm not interested in tablet computing at all.

    What about the OS? Surely Apple can't expect to compete with Win8 using iOS, can they? At some point they are going to have to offer a full OS.

      Desktop OS don't work on tablets. That's why tablets have failed in the past. With both Apple and Microsoft integrating their mobile OS's into their desktop OS that standard desktop OS will be a thing of the past soon.

      What an idiotic comment. Living in the past won't give you the future. Still got that horse and cart do we?

      I thought you'd be playing with your Win8 preview instead of trolling Apple stories, as usual......

    I need this why?

      Well as hard as this may be to believe not every product on earth is designed just for you and shockingly enough there are other people out there with different needs to yours. I know this news must be disturbing for you but please take a few moments to let it all sink in then try not to be so self centred.

    ipad is old hat, much better and more powerful devices from Android, and they are over half the price some of them! I know what I would buy..

      Koreans rejoice.

      I think you left out the "In my personal opinion" that should come before most of the feedback on this site

        Most of the people who hate on apple or android devices have an enormous ego and assume that their opinion is everyone's opinion....

      Androids an operating system, don't you know? Show me a device made by "Android" and then we'll talk. Until then, back under your bridge troll.

    I never thought I'd own an iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. However, I was recently given one as a 40th birthday present (by my wife) and I'm amazed at how much I use it and how much I love using it. I've hardly touched my laptop since getting the iPad and my iPhone sits, unused, in my pocket a lot more than it used to.

    inb4

    Apple's announcement of yet again revolutionary product.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    Make it 20% lighter, same size or thinner and I'm sold.

    Thinking of getting my first tablet, only because I think it'll help my business when I'm on the road & visiting clients.
    Bought iPhone in may 2010, old 3GS with big clunky "tradesman's case", does everything I want it to so won't be upgrading to 4s in a hurry.
    My question (answer might be obvious to those who are less technologically-challenged than yours truly): should I consider one of the cheaper android tablets, or stick with iPad as my phone is Apple-made (albeit from some poor little Chinese worker working 70 hours a week for a hundred bucks)?
    Thanks!

      Cheaper Android tablets aren't that great. You get what you pay for.
      Either get an ipad or an expensive Android tablet, either is just fine, the latter more powerful of course, but more apps and accessories for the ipads.

      You're probably better off with an ipad though because you're more used to how ios works so that will be more comfortable and intuitive for you.

      I agree with Ozoneocean...

      Stay away from cheaper Android Tablets (or any cheap tablet).

      If you already know how to use the iPhone and have an investment in the iOS apps, I would probably go for the iPad.

      I think at this particular moment, the iPad is the best 'general use' tablet available, if you need it to do something particular (e.g. run an app only available for Android or Windows) then I would have a play of the other devices and see which one you like the feel of the most.

      Side note: If you're limiting yourself to tech that wasn't built by factory workers with comparatively tiny incomes your house would be very empty.

    Have fun with your app grid.

      Biggest problem I'm finding with anything Android based is how badly the market is fragmented. I have an iPad 2 and its absolutely beautiful. I would highly recommend it over anything Android...

    There is to a home button, you can see it in one of the pictures. It's right there

      Yeah..... that home button is for the iPad 2. The iPad 3 photos are the top two. You can tell from the higher resolution in the displays.

    It still has a half assed OS just like the Android tablets. I will never buy a Tablet until it has a full functioning OS not a pathetic phone OS and I can't believe fucktards keep buying them.
    YOU PEOPLE HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY AND TOO LITTLE BRAINS.

      What else would you like it to do? Certain features of a desktop OS (which I'm assuming you're referring to as "full functioning") are completely unnecessary on a tablet.

      Chill man. You have been able to get "full functioning" tablet for years and no one bough them. You can go to harvey norman right now and spend way too much money on a samsung slate with a nice bluetooth keyboard and it has windows 7 installed. there you go! "Full functionality"! the rest of us will continue buying the tablets that are actually usable as a tablet

    I love it when Apple launches something. If only because we're spared a day of interminable Apple rumours.

    How about HDMI in as well as out this time?

      All i want is the ability to view the photos on my memory card full screen without having to copy them to my device. Is that too much to ask??

    whatever they put out, the haters will hate it and the fanbois will love it

    I cant wait for it to come out. It will give me a glimpse of what the Android tablets will be running in 12-18 months time

    A bold perdiction

    Android people will claim Apple copied something and it's still to expensive and behind Android

    Windows 8 people will cry foul how it's not a full OS and is limited and closed of.

    Apple fans will rejoice in a product that meets their needs (like Android and Windows 8 meets others needs) but be let down by a rumour not being correct.

    All this fanboy crap. Look how many car brands there are, same as pizza chains, types of music and entertainment.

    The world and people are diverse, nothing works for everyone, be happy there is choice. Without Apple the world would not have Smartphones or tablets or PC's like we do now, they would me more limited. Just like without Windows, Android etc Apple would not push themselves to break new ground and invent new products just as that then pushes others to out do them. Competition creates better products for everyone. Without it we would be stuck in a cave with a wood club and being marvelled by fire.

      It's naive to say without Apple we wouldn't have smartphones. They are the logical natural evolution of technology. Sure they influenced it, but it was gonna happen.

    If these reported read anything written by anyone else, they would know that there "update" is flat out wrong. There are dozens of images of the new iPad showing a home button. People listen - the iPhone will always be the same size, and the iPad will always have a home button.

    What about this?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/06/apple-touch-new-market-ipad-hd

    I said smartphones like we do now. If android did not come out apple might not of made some of the advancements they made either. I never said without apple smartphones would not exist (but before they entered the market it was kinda of crap)

    It's a symbiotic relationship all these competitors have with each other.

    How will people know I've upgraded if it looks the same?

    No thanks, I'm going to get the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700. 10 hours battery life, Tegra 3 quadcore (actually it's 5 cores) and most importantly, an attachable keyboard that adds an extra 6 hours battery life. Oh, and it's sexy as hell.

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