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Rumor roundup: ‘iPad 3’ displays, release date

With the new year comes a fresh burst of excitement for what products 2012 might bring. For Apple, speculation has generally centered on the company’s third-generation iPad, which most people have been referring to as the “iPad 3.”

The biggest improvement to the iPad that’s been mentioned as a possibility so far is its display. This has been a persistent rumor — remember talk of the iPad HD? — and Taiwanese technology site Digitimes reported Friday that Sharp is providing a different kind of HD display for the iPad. Sharp has reportedly refocused some of its resources for making IGZO (indium, gallium and zinc oxide) displays for smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets, the report said, citing unnamed “sources in Apple’s supply chain.”

Digitimes, as we’ve noted here before, has a spotty track record with Apple rumors, and bases most of its reporting on Asian component manufacturers.

With that in mind, consider that they are the source for a release date rumor that drew criticism from seasoned Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple.

The Digitimes report said that Apple would unveil the iPad at iWorld (MacWorld) in January — a conference that Apple stopped attending in 2009. It also hinted at two 9.7-inch models of the iPad aimed at targeting the entry-level and mid-range segments of the market.

Dalrymple’s sources discredited the report’s timing information. “I checked with a number of my sources today and an iPad 3 is not planned for release at Macworld,” he said.

Another report that’s been circulating is that the next iPad will be unveiled in February in time for late Apple founder Steve Jobs’s birthday on the 24th. That rumored release date comes from Focus Taiwan, which published a report based on reporting from the Chinese-language newspaper the Economic Daily News on Dec. 23. The Economic Daily News, as Apple Insider notes, also has a spotty-at-best record with Apple rumors.

Analyst reports have put the release date for the iPad anywhere from February to April, with most sticking with the vague — but safer — estimate of a new iPad coming sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Related stories:

Analyst: ‘iPad 3’ coming in February

Venture Beat: iPad 3 rumor mill: two new iPads planned for January, says report

Report: New iPad coming this spring

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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