Rumors

Coming Soon: Apple Could Launch $299 iPad

Apple is poised to retain its dominance of the tablet market worldwide, and one leak of information after another is streaming out of Asia to reveal glimpses of what's next. Reports of more than one iPad model on the horizon are not new, however DigiTimes research indicates there could be three tiered models coming early this year.

iPad 2 side view

The flagship model iPad 3 would be a high-end device featuring an updated screen with Retina-like resolution and top specs, including a next generation A6 mobile processor. A second tier A6-equipped iPad would feature the same insides however with a display matching the resolution of the iPad 2, which would reduce the price. Here's the kicker:

iPad 3 Screen Could Feature Sharp IGZO Technology

News of Apple's move towards IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology in the iPhone 5 display is not new, however reports have surfaced that show Apple could be using IGZO in the next generation iPad. The current iPad uses an IPS (in-plane switching) display, which provides a large viewing angle.

Sharp IGZO diagram

As seen in the diagram above from Semiconductor Portal, one advantage of an IGZO display is improved electron mobility. This means display pixels can be smaller (higher resolution) and more light passes through the IGZO display from the backlight. This reduces the brightness level needed from the backlight and saves power.

iPad 3 Rumors: Apple to Release Two New iPads in 2012, No 7-Inch iPad! (Updated)

Contradicting their previous report that Apple is working on a 7.85-inch iPad, the DigiTimes writes that Apple will release a "complete iPad series targeting the entry-level, mid-range and high-end market" in 2012. The iPad 2 will be reduced to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire, and the next-generation iPads will "focus on the mid-range and high-end segments," according to sources in the supply chain.

iPad 3

The new iPads will feature 9.7-inch screens, QXGA resolution (1,536x2,048 pixels) and the rumored dual OLED backlights we keep hearing so much about. The new "high-end version" of the iPad will feature an increased battery capacity of 14,000mAH compared to 6,500mAH used currently. Both new devices will use the quad-core A6 processor being manufactured by Samsung.

Apple to Release iPad 3 on Steve Jobs' Birthday?

According to Focus Taiwan, iPad manufacturers are working overtime to release the iPad 3 on Feb. 24 to mark Steve Jobs' birthday anniversary. OEMs and ODMs are asking their employees to work during the holidays to meet the deadline.

iPad 3

"To meet the iPad3 delivery date, the sources said, main assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry's iPad division will only allow its employees to take five days off during the Lunar New Year holiday, while staff at the company's other divisions will have a longer holiday."

Rumor: Apple to Release iPad 3 and iPad Mini in 2012

Amazon has proven that affordable smaller tablets can sell well, but are they selling well enough to force Apple to change their opinion about 7-inch displays? According to a recent report from the DigiTimes, Apple plans to begin production of a 7.85-inch iPad next year. The smaller tablet, dubbed the "iPad mini," will be available in Q4 of 2012, and the iPad 3 will still launch in February or March of the same year. DigiTimes claims Apple will purchase the 7.85-inch panels from LG Display and AU Optronics, and that production of the new models will begin at the end of the second quarter of 2012.

iPad mini Christmas 2012

The success of the Kindle Fire has revived old rumors about a smaller iPad that date as far back as 2010. The Korean Times wrote in November of 2011 that Apple met with LG Display to discuss production of 7-inch displays, and a few analyst have restarted the iPad mini rumor mill this year as well. The device will reportedly feature the same resolution as the iPad 2, and will be Apple's answer to the growing demand for more affordable tablets.

iPad 3 Redesigned Parts Already For Sale

Now that reports have surfaced of a possible February or March iPad 3 launch, Asian suppliers have started to offer iPad 3 components for sale. The latest part to spring up is a wholesale microphone flex cable ribbon, which according to photos from TVC-Mall is much different than its predecessor.

iPad 3 leaked parts wholesale

The new part, pictured above, could indicate a major redesign of the next generation iPad hardware. The site claims this microphone ribbon cable is an authentic replacement part for the iPad 3, however similar claims have had a mixed record when it comes to accuracy.

iPad 3 Ready For February Launch?

Production on the iPad 3 is moving along and the next generation device should be ready to launch in February, according to Citi analyst Richard Gardner. Gardner wrote that "several sources" have confirmed the iPad 3 will launch early next year.

iPad 3

The new 2048 x 1536 displays for the iPad 3 started shipping in November making earlier estimates for a release in March. The new iPad is rumored to be thicker to accommodate the new dual OLED backlights, and there may return of the curved profile we seen in the original iPad. The iPad 3 should also feature the new A6 chip which is currently being produced by Samsung.

iPad 3 Thicker According to Prototype Case Design

More evidence of a thicker iPad 3 design has surfaced from Asian suppliers. The latest report from Macotakara claims to reveal an iPad 3 prototype case photo, as seen below. This prototype is incredibly boring, and indicates no cutouts for a rear camera or any other distinguishing marks that help prove it's an iPad case.

If this silver blob means anything, the iPad 3 will not only be thicker, but the back of the iPad 3 could be a return to the curved profile see in the original iPad. This form factor was replaced by the second generation iPad's flat back and thinner profile. If Apple is indeed planning to increase this dimension on the iPad 3, there had better be a good reason.

Sprint iPad 2 With 4G WiMAX Coming Soon?

Code in iOS 5.1 beta firmware has revealed a new iPad device that could be headed to the Sprint network. iPad 3 devices referred to by the codes iPad3,1 and iPad3,2 were revealed some time ago by 9to5Mac. The latest discovery is an iPad2,4 which would add a device to the iPad 2 lineup.

iOS 5.1 code Sprint iPad 2

Existing devices include the Wi-Fi only iPad 2 (iPad2,1) and AT&T and Verizon models (iPad2,2 and iPad2,3 respectively). Sprint recently introduced the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 on its network, surprising some observers who expected T-Mobile to be the next major carrier to carry Apple products.

iPad 3 Display Could Feature Sharp IGZO Tech

Sharp has often been cited as one of Apple's current display suppliers, however the importance of Sharp technology to the design of the iPad 3 may have been underestimated. LG Display and Samsung have also been providing displays to Apple for its devices, but if sources at AppleInsider are correct, it's Sharp that will soon take center stage.

iPad 3 Retina display Sharp IGZO

The report revolves around groundbreaking IGZO technology that is ready for mass production and provides Apple with an alternative to the current IPS LCD display used in the iPad and iPad 2. The advantage of IPS is its wide viewing angle, but Apple is always on the lookout for lighter, more efficient components for its designs.

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