The next iPad will have the name “iPad 3,” according to the consensus of rumors, and it features a faster processor/GPU while remaining the same size as the current iPad 2. Its unveiling is in a month (March 7th is the first Wednesday) and will be available (in Wi-Fi certainly) almost immediately after.
The big differentiator this year is the “Retina Display” with a staggering 2048-by-1536 pixel screen, likely made by Sharp/Samsung/LG. An Apple employee told The New York Times that the display was “truly amazing” and it must be with a pixel count that lies between the 21- and 27-inch iMacs squeezed into a 9.7-inch display. Consider: You can watch a Blu-ray movie at native resolution with over 100 pixels on the side and nearly 500 pixels below to “play with.”
Oh, by the way: How many megapixels is 2048-by-1536? Just over 3.
That screen sounds like it might take more juice to power, but Apple will add some extra battery capacity, which might make the iPad 3 slightly thicker. The battery life will likely continue with 10 hours as the baseline (why make the case slightly bigger or smaller otherwise?).
One of the unanswered questions is whether the Samsung S5L8945X inside will be a dual or quad core processor. While this is mostly a “speeds and feeds” type of question and will not relate too much to real-world performance, it would seem that the overwhelming evidence points to quad-core. Apple’s iPad 2 was one of the first dual core tablets and with NVIDIA getting set to announce a group of quad core phones, Apple’s once a year upgrade would suggest a quad. As the S5L8945X name implies above, there will be some extra horsepower on the GPU side as well.
LTE capability is also a big question. The radios for LTE will add some weight and cost, while also acting as a harder hit on the battery. However, with Apple’s once a year release cycle and the overwhelming amount of evidence that has tied Apple to LTE, it would seem that Apple will have a LTE iPad—but perhaps one not available at the launch. Next generation lower power LTE chips are just coming off the assembly lines at Qualcomm.
More, including Bluetooth, Camera, NFC, Gig Wifi, and Thunderbolt is available below: