No matter how you look at it, it seems that tablet computers are here to stay. Over the last two years they have boomed in popularity – and that can be almost directly attributed to the release of Apple’s now world-renowned iPad. What started as something that people saw as nothing more than an overgrown iPod touch has now become a must-have gadget – and the current iPad 2 is proving just as popular as its predecessor.
With new Apple products always hotly tipped and heavily rumoured, we thought it’d be handy to compile everything that we think we know about the next iteration, the iPad 3.
The A6 processor, possibly quad-core
One of the best things about the release of new Apple products has been the inevitable increase in horsepower that comes with each new revision. Take the jump between the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 4, for example – it was quite literally like night and day. With the iPad, Apple has already got the second model running at quite a pace with the latest A5 chip. It’s dual-core, so is much faster than even the iPhone 4 – and it’s the very same A5 chip that can be found in the iPhone 4S (which may explain why they’re going for such a high price on the cash for mobiles websites). Going by that logic, it’s perfectly possible (and indeed likely) that Apple will include the next version of the chip – the A6 within the shell of the iPad 3. Word has it that the A6 will boast a quad-core processor, making it quite a formidable opponent for any manufacturer in the tablet PC arena.
Close to retina resolution screen
There’s been a lot of talk about the screen resolution of the iPad 3, mainly because of Apple’s excellent work on the latest iPhones and their retina display. With a resolution so high that the human eye can’t perceive each individual pixel, the retina display is literally unmatched on any smartphone or tablet. Even Apple has been unable to get the same resolution replicated on the larger iPad screen. If rumour is to be believed, though, they’re certainly having a good go at it for the iPad 3. The latest reports are telling us that the iPad 3 could boast a resolution of 2048×1536 – which is over twice as sharp as the original iPad. It wouldn’t quite reach the ‘retina’ level of clarity (or pixels-per-inch), but it’ll be darned close, and will very likely be eye-wateringly nice to look at.
Slightly thicker than the iPad 2 (0.7mm)
If Apple does incorporate the new higher resolution screen, it will actually create a new problem for itself. A higher resolution screen on the existing iPad would actually result in a much dimmer screen, because the light has to make its way through twice as many ‘exit points’. To counter this problem, which can cause a loss of more than 50% of brightness, Apple may include a dual LED light bar. This will provide a much brighter and more even backlight, regardless of the resolution. It will also make the iPad 3 just a little bit thicker than its predecessor: 0.7mm thicker to be exact. It’s not a huge increase, but it may bother the purists out there.
The iPad 3 could include a NFC (Near Field Communication) chip
Contactless payment is slowly becoming a new standard in making small transactions. These work using a ‘Near Field Communication’ system which connects a transmitter and receiver when they come close to one another. There is a very much unconfirmed rumour that Apple will be including NFC tech in both the iPad 3 and iPhone 5, bringing a whole new world of possibilities to the devices. Just imagine: who needs wallets when you can simply wave your iPad or phone near the payment point? NFC built into smartphones and other portable devices could really change the way we interact with our tech, so fingers crossed Apple will manage to include this on the iPad 3.
There have been plenty of other rumours about the newest iPad, but with an estimated release date of spring 2012, we don’t have long to wait to find out exactly what wonders may lie within this super-thin piece of high-tech gadgetry!