At least something is. Everything else about the third-generation iPad is up in the air, from its name to its guts.
The rumor that seems to be the closest thing to fact is the speculation that the next iPad will have a retina display, which is already present in the iPhone. What, exactly, is a retina display? According to Apple, it means that there are so many pixels on the screen that your eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. The iPhone 4S displays 326 pixels per inch. A better display on the iPad is good news for those who use the tablet to watch a lot of video.
Along with the display, a likely rumor is that Apple will put a faster chip in the iPad. Some people are split as to whether it will be a boosted dual-core A5X chip or a quad-core A6 chip, but the general consensus doesn’t seem to question that the tablet will be quicker.
Speaking of speed, Apple has yet to make a device that runs on high-speed 4G networks, one way that the company has lagged behind competitors. Analysts expect that Apple could make the next iPad the first to run on the nation’s fastest networks, though Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu pointed out that Apple will have had to make some battery improvements to avoid the 4G pitfalls that have plagued other tablets.
Siri, the “personal assistant” software, was the most notable feature of the latest iPhone, and tech bloggers and analysts have assumed that Apple will put the same natural-speech and dictation technology into the iPad. Siri doesn’t seem to be as natural a fit in the iPad as it is in the iPhone — lifting your iPad to ask Siri a question would be even more awkward than talking to your phone — but a built-in way to dictate e-mails would be a welcome addition to the iPad.
Moving into more speculative territory, there’s thought that the tablet’s display could be such a main selling point that Apple will reflect the better screen in its gadget’s name. So far, Apple’s naming convention with the iPad has been straight-forward — iPad, iPad 2 — but there’s been some speculation that the third-generation tablet will buck the trend. Right now, the leading candidate for a name that isn’t the iPad 3 is the “iPad HD,” a nod to the all-but-confirmed speculation that the new tablet will have a better display.
Also in the “possible category”: better cameras for the iPad. The camera sensor is really where the iPad falls down against its competitors, so it would make sense that this would be targeted as an area of improvement. Not to mention that the iPhone got a bump with an 8MP in its latest incarnation.
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