Report: Forget the ‘iPad 3’, it’s the ‘iPad HD’

March 6, 2012

In a little fit of deja vu, right before Apple’s next big media event the rumor mill is throwing out a report that could change how some people set their expectations for what Apple is announcing Wednesday.

The company is almost certainly revealing an iPad — it’s March and the media invitation has a picture of an iPad, after all — but there had been some debate over what it would be called. Conventional wisdom dictated that the third-generation iPad would, in fact, be called the iPad 3. Now, at least a couple of reports have tipped the scales in favor of the other widely discussed possibility: the iPad HD.

CNET and VentureBeat both sprang Tuesday morning stories proclaiming they had sources who said, unequivocally that the next tablet will carry the “HD” moniker, a nod to the retina-display that’s expected on the new device, which is supposed to have more pixels per square inch than the average human eye can distinguish at a distance of about 12 inches.

VentureBeat, citing a “reliable source,” pointed out that the HD name fits in well with a report last week from Gizmodo and previous reporting from This is my next, the site that has become The Verge. The report indicates that it might mean that users shouldn’t expect a quad-core chip in the new tablet, but plan for an updated dual-core processor instead.

So what’s in a name? The whole “iPhone 4S” vs. “iPhone 5” debate would indicate that the lack of a new number comes with the implication that this is an evolutionary — not revolutionary — change in the tablet. And Apple has previously used “HD” to indicate that its products have taken a small step forward. CNET pointed out that iMovie HD added support for 720p and 1080i video, which was a small but significant feature.

The name, then, could indicate that Apple’s planning to make this a high-end addition to its tablet line. Way back in July, Joshua Topolsky put forward that very idea, saying that the iPad HD would be an upgraded version of the iPad 2, saying “Think MacBook and MacBook Pro.”

Related stories:

Demand for the ‘iPad 3’ soars ahead of launch event

Apple’s ‘iPad 3’: Sifting through the rumors

‘iPad 3’ event prompting trade-ins of older iPads

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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