The iPad 2 may be just finding its feet, but we're already inundated with rumours about its successor, including one that refuses to go away - that Apple will release a new tablet this year. “The iPad 2 is a fantastic device, but this market is changing more rapidly than in any other chip war I can remember,” says Football Manager supremo Miles Jacobson, who is already working on games that use quadcore processors.
UNDER THE HOOD
If Apple sticks to its usual, yearly release schedule, it's at a real risk of falling behind its competitors, who have already closed the gap. But what would the iPad 3 look like? We can confidently say it'll look much like the current one, at least from the front, though we've heard a carbon-fibre chassis may be in the offing. More critical is what's inside. We're looking forward to a bigger, 128GB storage option, 4G outside of the UK, NFC, a Spotify-style streaming version of iTunes, dual-HD cameras, a higher-res screen, a quadcore processor and a base price that's about £10 cheaper than the last one (as usual). Chop chop then, Apple…
WHAT THE LITTLE BIRDIE SAYS
iPad 2 is just a stop-gap
“An Apple staffer” reportedly told the Cult of Mac blog that iPad 2 was rushed into production and that the “third-gen iPad is the one to make a song and dance about”. He also said it's due out this year.
We say: If quadcore tablets are the norm by autumn, will Apple want to wait a further six
months before updating its dualcore slow-coach?
Cult of Mac also predicts that the next iPhone will have a NFC chip to allow mobile payments and possibly remote control of your Mac over the web. If it can fit in the iPhone 5, it'll fit in the iPad 3.
We say: Mobile operators are currently investing millions in NFC and there will be money to be made. Apple will want some of that, for sure.
Super Retina Display
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good record on predictions, believes iPad 3 will have a 2048x1536 display: more HD than full HD. Mind you, he also believes it'll be five or six inches across. Hmm…
We say: Changing the screen size would cause major problems for app developers. Higher-res screen, yes. Smaller, no.
WHAT IPAD 3 WON'T HAVE
Different screen sizes
An entire industry has spawned from the 9.7-inch standard, so is Apple suddenly decides to change its screen ratio, it'll have app developers all over the world weeping. Android and other rivals, however, will continue to offer a broader range.
Most things folk say they want on Apple devices are usually un-Apple-esque and would involve spoiling its beautiful/over-designed lines. However, wireless syncing with iTunes and your hard drive is so elegant, it's surprising Apple has not implemented it until now. Physically docking to sync media seems just so 2007. Can an Android dev make it work?
Apple's stand-off with Adobe has been a long-standing bugbear, with Apple favouring the less battery-intensive HTML5. Use of Flash may have diminished as a result but
there are still vast swathes of the web that will be denied to the iPad 3 if it ships this year without Flash. Why should you have to stand for that?
Predicted launch date: September 2011