Apple iPad 3 release date
On 1 July, Digitimes reported that Taiwanese-based component suppliers were gearing up for production of the iPad 3. In October 2011 it was later reported that production would certainly start before the end of the year.
However, during August, a rumour broke that Apple was set to delay the launch of the iPad 3, due to a shortage of retina displays from its suppliers LG and Samsung - more on the display shortly.
Digitimes reported in late November 2011 that panel makers had already started shipping panels for the new iPad 3 - a million in October and two million in November.
Interestingly, in November 2011, Digitimes suggested that the spring's new iPad would, in fact, be a revised iPad 2, with a brand new iPad design due later in 2012.
Foxconn, Apple's major manufacturing partner, is also said to be starting production on the iPad 3 in January. Digitimes says the new model is expected to meet the heady heights of 9.5 to 9.8 million units over the course of Q1 2012.
The iPad 3 release date looks set for Spring 2012, with Citi analyst Richard Gardner even predicting it could be as early as February.
The Apple iPad 3 UK release date is a mystery
With Apple unable to meet initial demand for the iPad 2, we'd expect a staggered release date for the iPad 3 too: Apple will most likely follow the pattern it has with the previous two iPad launches and have a US release first, followed by a UK release days later.
According to the Korea Times in November 2011, the A6 processors are to be manufactured by Samsung, despite the companies' ongoing patent battles.
The Apple iPad 3 specs include a dual-core processor...
It's possible that the iPad 3 will have a brand spanking new processor, Apple's A6 - which will surely be a quad-core ARM-based processor. Quad-core designs are imminent from all ARM partners.
Apple iPad 3 display
A retina display was widely predicted for the iPad 2, but of course the current iPad doesn't have a double-resolution display: for now, that's something you'll only get in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Could an iPad 3 Retina Displaybe on the way? It's the very first thing on our iPad 3 wish list.
The exciting news is that it looks as though it is happening, with Apple reportedly testing suppliers' current shipments of 2048 x 1536 resolution 9.7-inch displays.
However, rumours continued over the summer and autumn of 2011 that the retina display in the iPad 3 was continuing to be a challenge.
Rumours of an HD screen on the iPad 3 gathered pace on 12 April 2011 when Digitimes reported that Apple is asking panel makers to provide screens that are capable of displaying higher image quality than the iPad 2.
Back in May 2011, we reported that the iPad 3 could launch with a Samsung-made AMOLED screen, following rumours that Apple has been in talks on the matter with Samsung execs. There have also been more LG and Samsung rumours, too.
On 15 June we reported that the iOS 5 code hinted at a Retina Display for the Apple iPad 3, although
More rumours in mid-November 2011 said that Apple is looking to implement some nifty dual LED lightbar technology into the iPad 3. The reason? It's apparently in a bid to counter-balance the brightness issue that the Apple tablet may have, due to its super-high pixel density.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal in late November, Sharp will manufacture standard LCD panels to the device. Apparently Apple is investing in infrastructure at Sharp's LCD plant.
Will the iPad 3 have a smaller dock connector?
Parts previewed on some websites indicate that, although the iPad 3 will still have a 30 pin dock connector, the packaging is streamlined. Well, if this is true, we knew it would happen sooner or later.
The iPad 3 hardware could include an NFC chip
Apple's very interested in Near Field Communications, and one particularly tasty rumour at Cult of Mac suggests that the iPhone 5 will use NFC to take over nearby Macs, enabling you to use your data and settings with a flick of the wrist.
The iPad 3 specifications will include more storage
The iPad 2 has the familiar 16/32/64GB storage options, but as flash storage comes down in price, a 128GB option for the iPad 3 isn't impossible - although that might depend on the situation in Asia, where natural disasters have caused chaos in parts of the electronics industry this year.
The iPad 3 features could include a Thunderbolt port
Two generations of USB-free iPads suggest that Apple just isn't interested in adding one, but the new Thunderbolt port found in the 2011 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air could be another story: it's a combined accessory/display connector with astonishingly fast performance.
iPad 3 to be a 4G LTE unit?
Cnet.com believes that the new iPad may feature a Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip for next-gen connectivity.
There could be more than one iPad 3
TUAW says the iOS 5 code features new code files for USB devices in the iOS 5 firmware, Through this, TUAW found references to an iPad 3,1 and an iPad 3,2.
The iPad 3 could be thicker
The iPad 3 might be bulking out, reportedly so it can house a higher-resolution display than the iPad 2, and the extra girth is all down to pixel density.
The iPad 3 could be made by someone other than Foxconn
Apple was said to be in talks with another Far Eastern manufacturer as the release of the iPad 3 nears. Digitimes says that as there was a fire at usual supplier Foxconn in May, Quanta Computer and Pegatron Technology could benefit.
On 1 August it was reported that a contract had definitely gone to Pegatron rather than Foxconn.
The iPad 3 specs might include an SD card slot
This was widely predicted for the iPad 2 and, like the Retina Display, didn't materialise. One for version 3, perhaps? Using a separate adapter to read camera cards is rather inelegant and clunky.
The iPad 3 specification should include a better camera
The rear-facing camera on the iPad 2 isn't brilliant: an iPhone 4S-style camera and flash would do nicely.
The iPad 3 might use gesture controls
Could the iPad 3 have Kinect-style gesture controls? We're not so sure, but rumours suggested so in late October 2011.
The iPad 3 could feature a carbon fibre case
Apple has hired a carbon fibre expert, senior composites engineer Kevin Kenney, fuelling speculation that the next iPad could be encased in the lightweight material.