The hype's been building, and now the final piece is in place. Apple has confirmed its next iPad launch for next week, so what exactly can we expect to see?
Apple has sent out invitations to media outlets for a March 7 event in San Francisco, confirming the long-expected launch date for the next iPad. Teasingly worded -- "We have something you really need to see. And touch." -- the invite might be read as an implicit refererence to the iPad 3's expected upgrade in the visuals department, with the rumour mill having long insisted that the iPad 2's successor will stock a vastly improved 'super high-res' display at up to 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, which would put the screen in 'Retina' territory (the pixel density currently supported by the iPhone 4 and 4S).
The iPad 3 (if so it is called) is also expected to incorporate a new dual-core (or quad-core) A6 processor. While the 9.7-inch form factor of the iPad 2 will likely be unchanged, it's been hinted in some quarters that the iPad 3 might be thicker or heavier than its predecessor due to the internal components required to light up the new improved display.
Adding grist to the mill, 9to5Mac
has reported that sources familiar with Apple's intentions indicate the company will release three different tablet models at the event next week, alongside a possible update to its former 'hobby project', the Apple TV.
The site suggests two of the iPad variants will be 3G models, with the third a new Wi-Fi-only tablet, and iPad storage is also tipped to hit a 128GB peak at the top-end. It'll be interesting to see what happens with pricing, and whether iPad 2 models remain on the market at a discounted cost, similar to what has happened with past Apple product updates.
With regards to the Apple TV, 9to5Mac believes the update will bring an improved dual-core A5 CPU, enhanced video playback up to 1080p, possible Bluetooth 4.0 connectivty and even a remote chance of Siri voice control in the bag. In any case, we'll know the results in about seven days, so watch this space.