Apple's iPad 3 Aiming for Early 2012 Launch: Report

Apple will release the iPad 3 in early 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal's unnamed sources. Rumors suggest the tablet will feature a high-res display.

Apple will apparently manufacture its first iPad 3 units in October, with an eye toward a launch early next year.

That report comes from the Wall Street Journal, itself quoting unnamed sources supposedly familiar with the matter. If verified, that would mean Apple is sticking with the release schedule it established with previous iPad generations. The original iPad launched in April 2010 (having been unveiled that January), while the iPad 2 made its debut in March 2011.

The Aug. 19 report adds that the next iPad "is expected to feature a high resolution display-2048 by 1536 compared with 1024 by 768 in the iPad 2." The screen will apparently retain the same 9.7-inch size of previous editions.

That would align with rumors from earlier this summer that the next iPad will feature a high-resolution "Retina Display," which started when a tipster included screenshots of some extra-large images in Apple's upcoming iOS 5 mobile operating system.

"As I was going through the iOS SDK I came across some images in the new Twitter .framework. The resolution appears to be 1,536 x 2,048," a tipster wrote to the blog TechUnwrapped, including the aforementioned screenshots to back up those findings. In addition to the new Twitter .framework, images from Apple's upcoming Newsstand application-which consolidates iOS users' periodical subscriptions in one place, while downloading new issues in the background-apparently also featured twice-as-large resolutions.

Apple will issue iOS 5 sometime this fall. It is a broad-based update: In addition to Newsstand, new features include a refined notifications screen, boosted interoperability with Twitter and an "iMessenger" conversation platform seemingly designed as a direct competitor to BlackBerry Messenger.

In June, Reuters also paraphrased Taiwan's Economic Daily as saying the iPad 3 would launch with "image resolution 5-6 times higher than iPad 2."

The rumor mill is grinding feverishly over the schedule of Apple's next releases. At the moment, tech publications and pundits seem to have generally settled on a September-October timeframe for the release of the next iPhone, popularly dubbed "iPhone 5." However, there's considerably less buzzing about the next iPad, although Taiwanese publication DigiTimes suggested this summer that the tablet would be launched sometime this fall (which in turn contradicted its report from the spring that the iPad 3 would most likely make its debut in 2012).

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