Apple iPad 3 final pre-launch predictions

With one hour to go until Tim Cook takes the wraps off Apple’s newest tablet, we sort the likely wheat from the iPad 3 rumour chaff

Apple iPad 3 – last call

You can find a list of all our iPad 3 rumours here, but in these final minutes before Apple’s San Francisco launch event gets under way, we thought we’d carve our way through the list, chuck out the more outlandish speculation and make a call on what we’re actually likely to see. Ready? Here goes…

Apple’s 2012 tablet – iPad 3 or iPad HD

What’s in a name? Well, for Apple a lot… if it decides to drop its two-generation tablet naming policy. It won’t be the first time Apple’s swerved from the obvious sequential nomenclature (see iPhone 4S), and that – coupled with strong opinion from Team Stuff – is why we believe Apple will name its new tablet iPad HD.

iPad HD – Retina Display

To be honest, we’ve wanted to see a hi-res display on the iPad since we were working up to the iPad 2 launch. The iPad HD – as its name suggests – will come armed with a Retina Display with a resolution of 264ppi (2048x1536). But it’ll still have a 9.7in screen – we’re banking on no iPad Mini announcements this time. Expect those 9.7 inches to be bright, though… an extra backlight could boost the brilliance of the new iPad.

iPad HD – dual-core processor

Much as we’d love to see a quad-core iPad 3 (or iPad HD), we doubt that’s going to be the case. Instead, we’re expecting a slickened version of the dual-core A5 found in the iPhone 4S (dubbed A5X) to run the show. Speed freaks should keep their spirits up, though – we’re expecting the quad-core A6 to arrive later in the year when Apple launches the iPhone 5. Or iPhone 6? That’s a question for a different day.

iPad 3 – 8MP camera

It’s a no brainer – pics that are bound to be shown on that super bright new iPad HD screen will need to be sharp. Enter an 8MP camera sensor – the same BSI unit currently found on the iPhone 4S. Job done.

iPad HD – button begone?

The rumour that Apple would remove the home button from its iPad was around during the iPad 2 build-up. Guess what? It’s back for the iPad 3. But we think it’ll also prove fruitless this time around. The iPad HD will have a home button. Probably.

iPad HD – iOS 5.1

We’d expect an OS bump for Apple’s new hardware, though again we feel it’ll hold back the upgrade to iOS 6 until the next iPhone launches. That’s why the iPad HD release will also mark the arrival of Apple’s next iOS version – iOS 5.1.

iPad 3 – Siri

Yup – Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, will come to the iPad HD. We’re 99 per cent on that.

iPad 3 – a lot like the iPad 2

The iPad HD (or iPad 3) will be remarkably similar to the iPad 2 in many ways. It’ll still have a 30-pin dock connector (no Thunderbolt, we’re afraid), a similar build (though possibly a tiny bit fatter) and 3G or Wi-Fi options (not 4G LTE, yet). And yes, there’ll still be Smart Covers.

iPad 3 – UK release date and price

We’re thinking Apple will start shipping the iPad 3 almost immediately in the US, with Stores starting to sell the device around March 16. Other major countries (including the UK) will get the iPad HD release towards the end of March, at the same price as the iPad 2 is now: starting from £400.

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