- A Retina Display is a near-certainty. This display will offer double the resolution of the iPad and iPad 2, bringing the resolution of the screen to a whopping 2048 x 1536 pixels. This is better than the resolution you get from a 1080p Blu-ray disc, and almost as large as Apple’s 27-inch iMac display. Imagine the clarity of an iPhone 4S display three times as big, and you’ll get an idea of what to expect with the iPad 3′s screen. Images will look beautiful and text will look as crisp as if it were a magazine that you’re reading.
- 4G LTE. The ability to use the iPad on 4G LTE networks would mark the first time Apple has manufactured a 4G device, and there’s a very solid chance that the new iPad will have 4G built-in. This will support AT&T and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks in the United States, and it’s possible it will support other 4G LTE deployments in other parts of the world depending on frequencies.
- Better cameras. I’d expect a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera for the rear camera at the bare minimum with a 5-megapixel unit possible, and Apple will also include a front-facing camera that supports HD FaceTime chats.
- Wi-Fi and Cellular models. Apple will most likely offer two versions of the iPad just as the company does now — a Wi-Fi only and a Wi-Fi + cellular variant, though I’d wager that Apple will be able to combine the GSM and CDMA models into one, offering a truly global 4G + 3G + CDMA + GSM + Wi-Fi iPad 3.
- Apple A6 quad-core processor. While the rumor mill has been going back and forth about whether Apple will include the company’s first quad-core processor for iOS in the iPad 3, I have to say that I expect Apple to do so. Since Apple is on a yearly product cycle, I’d bet that a quad-core processor is featured, setting the stage for an A6 quad-core chip in the iPhone 5 (clocked slightly lower than the iPad’s chip) later this fall.
- A larger battery. It is expected that Apple is going to use a much larger battery in the iPad 3, but before you think that battery life is going to be increased by 50%, I’m assuming this is simply to compensate for a more power-hungry 4G LTE chip, faster processor and more powerful GPU to power that Retina Display. I expect comparable battery life to the iPad 2, though it’s certainly possible Apple could push it just a tad bit farther and make it better.
- The outside hardware of the iPad 3 will most likely be identical to the iPad 2. In fact, the only change that’s likely to occur is that the case will be less than 1 millimeter thicker, not something that’ll will barely be noticeable.
- iOS 5.1. This is a no-brainer, but iOS 5.1 will be introduced with the iPad 3 and be released for the iPhone and iPod touch as well.
- Siri for iPad. I’d wager heavily that the iPad 3 will at least feature Siri’s text dictation, though it’s certainly possible Apple will bring the full Siri experience to the iPad.
The blogosphere (including us) has a bad habit of increasing expectations about the next generation Apple product, only to be disappointed when some of these rumors and speculations don’t turn out to true or accurate. We experienced it less than six months back with the iPhone.
But if Apple’s third generation iPad comes with Retina Display, quad-core processor and a much faster GPU, 4G LTE support, improved FaceTime HD camera along with Siri then we won’t be surprised if 2012 is the year of iPad 3 even though it looks like iPad 2 and 1 millimeter thicker (though we’re hoping it will be the year of the next generation iPhone – iPhone 5/iPhone 6).
It will be interesting to see what surprise Apple has in store for us with regarding to the software as not much has leaked so far on that front despite Apple seeded three beta versions to developers.
What do you think? Will you buy or upgrade to iPad 3 if it comes with most of these features?