It’s January. And that means for the next several months, we’ll be forced to wade through rumor after rumor about Apple’s iPad 3. Even after the device launches-which, the rumor mill suggests, could happen in March-reports will surface over Apple’s plans for future updates and even the device’s successor. Simply put, there’s no rest for the weary in the great land of Apple rumors.
Unfortunately, with all the rumors that surface, people fall into the trap of believing that some of them are true. And why not? Publications like DigiTimes make their so-called “sources” appear to be so trustworthy, and their suggestions seem so plausible, that not to believe them would be ludicrous, some folks think. Apple is definitely launching the iPad 3 this year, rumor lovers say, and it needs to offer some improvements, so why shouldn’t at least some of the rumors be true?
It’s a logical argument. But given the history of Apple rumors, there’s a good chance, even with all the reports that have already cropped up, we’re not even close to figuring out what the iPad 3 will come with. Apple is notoriously secretive. And it has a tendency to surprise even the most cynical industry observers.
Read on to find out what we still don’t know about the iPad 3, despite what the rumors say.
1. Will it have Siri?
When Apple launched its virtual personal assistant application Siri with the iPhone 4S, immediately, folks started wondering if it would be coming to the iPad 3. Rumors suggest it will, and there’s a solid chance that will be the case. But so far, Apple hasn’t made that commitment. And until it does, don’t bet too heavily on those rumors.
2. When will it launch?
Given Apple’s history of iPad launches, it seems rather likely that the company will unveil its next-generation tablet in March or April. And most rumors seem to follow that logic. But with Tim Cook now calling the shots and the possibility of quad-core processors-which will likely come in the iPad 3-delaying production times a bit, that scheduling could be off.
3. What will it cost?
The iPad 3’s price might just be the easiest rumor to predict. After all, Apple has historically delivered a new version of its smartphone or tablet each year, and the new devices are priced the same as their predecessors. It’s a pricing move that has helped Apple in big ways in the past. And most rumors suggest it will happen again with the iPad 3. But until Apple actually unveils the new tablet, don’t convince yourself of it.
4. Will it be a major upgrade?
Quite often, consumers want to know if an upcoming Apple device will be a major upgrade over its predecessor. And quite often, the rumors say it will be. But as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S showed quite convincingly, major upgrades aren’t always made available by Apple. The latest rumors say the iPad 3 will be a major step up over the iPad 2, but given Apple’s comfortable lead in the tablet space, the company might not feel compelled to deliver such a device this year.
Apple Has Historically Made Rumor-Mongers Look Foolish
5. Will it come with different form factors?
If the Amazon Kindle Fire has proved anything, it’s that small, 7-inch displays might actually work in the tablet market. Meanwhile, some reports out of Asia claim Apple will be offering different iPad 3 form factors to satisfy those who want smaller screens. It’s certainly possible, but considering Apple has been loath to do that in the past, it might just rebuff those claims and stick with its 9.7-inch screen.
6. How about 4G?
One of the biggest complaints iPad owners have is that the device doesn’t support 4G networking. Given that other tablets have 4G already, there’s a good chance the iPad 3 will come with it. But there’s also a good chance it won’t, considering Apple’s issues with the technology in the past. The company has said the technology is not ubiquitous and it forces design compromises Apple is unwilling to make. Will that change in 2012? Time will tell.
7. Will it come with a Retina Display?
The iPad 2 was supposed to come with a Retina Display, according to rumors at the time. But after Apple announced the tablet, it was clear the company had other plans. Now, those rumors are being revived for the iPad 3. But considering how expensive a Retina Display would be on the iPad 3, consumers might be disappointed once again.
8. Will it have extra ports?
For years now, the rumor mill has said Apple will include more ports in the iPad, including one that lets customers connect to an HDTV through High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). And each year, Apple has made those who announce the rumors look foolish. With Apple doubling down on Thunderbolt in 2011, it would seem that the iPad 3 would be the next logical choice for the company’s input/output technology, but then again, trying to predict Apple’s plans can be dangerous.
9. How about a brand-new design?
Apple is perhaps best known for its outstanding product designs. But many would agree that the iPad 2 is one of the least-attractive Apple products available right now. And it would only make sense, according to the rumor mill, for the company to deliver a major design improvement this year. Will Apple want to invest in a totally new iPad design? We’ll see.
10. Is 3D coming?
More often than not, tablet makers are considering how 3D support will play a role in their products in 2012. Should it take center stage? Should it be an ancillary addition? Those are just some of the questions vendors, and even Apple, are likely asking. The latest rumors say the iPad 3 will come with 3D support. And considering how important games have become in iOS, that makes some sense. But as with the rest of these items, don’t expect to find the new feature until Apple itself shows it off.