The release date of the iPad 3 draws nigh. That's the word from All Things D, which reports today that Apple will unveil the iPad 3 at a press event in San Francisco, almost exactly a year after the release of the iPad 2. Caveats abound: Apple hasn't confirmed the report, and Apple rumors are something of a national sport this time of year.
Still, the timing lines up, and John Paczkowski, who quotes anonymous industry sources, isn't the kind of reporter to be flinging around completely speculative gossip. So hey, if Apple does take the wraps off the iPad 3 in the first week in March, when will the tablet actually hit shelves? Well, probably a week or so after the launch event – standard issue for new Apple products.
"As for the next-generation iPad itself," Paczkowski writes, "sources say it will be pretty much what we’ve been led to expect by the innumerable reports leading up to its release: A device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048 x 1536 Retina Display – or something close to it."
Apple, of course, already uses the Retina Display on its iPhone 4 and 4S, and analysts have been waiting for the iPad to be fitted with similar technology. Assuming the All Things D report is correct – and as Paczkowski hints, almost every iPad 3 rumor has hinged on an improved screen, so there's no reason to suspect it's not – expect Apple to push the new feature in a major way.
In related news, back in December, DigiTimes, a well-sourced Taiwanese newspaper, predicted the arrival of two new Apple tablets – a full-sized iPad 3, with a traditional display, and a smaller device, with a 7.85-inch screen. (That's about half the size of today's iPad.) No news has since broken about the pint-sized iPad – not in the All Things D report or elsewhere – so it may be safe to assume that this will be a one-iPad year.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.