Screen: Probably the only rumor that’s stayed consistent since earnest speculation began about the third-generation iPad, the new tablet is widely expected to have to a retina-quality display, which means that the human eye won’t be able to distinguish individual pixels in the screen at viewing distance.
Models: The Taiwanese tech site Digitimes, which cranks out a lot of reports from Apple’s supply chain, has said that Apple will ditch its 64GB version of the iPad and only offer 16GB and 32GB models, in addition to cheaper, 8GB version of the iPad 2 for the downstream market. Digitimes has a spotty record on rumors, and — as VentureBeat points out — it seems unlikely that Apple would get rid of its 64GB model unless it really wasn’t selling that well.
Processor: Almost everyone expects the new tablet to have a faster processor, but the rumor mill is split on how much of an upgrade Apple will give the new tablet. Some expect that the “HD” name hints that it will be a smaller upgrade overall, which would indicate Apple will add a faster dual-core A5x chip. Others remain convinced that Apple will give the new tablet a quad-core A6 processor.
4G LTE: One of the only ways that Apple lags in comparison to the rest of the industry is in its portfolio of 4G devices. It doesn’t have any. Analysts expect that will change today and that Apple will introduce an iPad that runs on the faster networks, having worked out the battery life issues that tend to plague those super-fast devices. Carriers are steadily rolling out 4G across the country, but there’s still a chance that Apple will decide to wait to put this capability in until there’s more consistent 4G coverage.
Design: Most analysts and bloggers seem to think that the new iPad will be almost identical to the design of the old iPad. There have been rumors that the tablet unveiled today will actually be a little thicker due to extra components needed to support the HD screen. There has also been some speculation that Apple may do away with the home button on the iPad, which seemed to be absent from the photo Apple sent out with its invitation.
9to5Mac also reported that the latest version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 5.1, has passed its final stage of quality assurance testing, meaning that the new tablet will likely ship with a new operating system. The new version of iOS is said to add Japanese support for Siri and a new camera slider screen that will let users slide up to use the camera.
Release date: Rumored specs are all well and good, but when can you actually buy this thing? According to a Tuesday report from 9to5 Mac, an Apple store sources says that the big day will be Friday, March 16. That leaves us nine days of anticipation.
Apple TV: There’s also a good bit of conversation around what some people think will be Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s version of the “one more thing” announcement: a revamped version of Apple TV. The Verge reports that the new TV box will have 1080p capabilities and will have mirroring capabilities so that users can throw whatever’s on their iPad or Mac onto their TV. This mirroring is a listed feature of the Apple operating system currently in beta, Mountain Lion.
More iPad 3 rumor goodness: 16GB & 32GB models coming, 8GB iPad 2 ready as well
Apple’s ‘iPad 3’: Sifting through the rumors
Apple is expected to introduce the next generation of its iPad