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iPad 3 rumor rollup for the week of Feb. 14

March Madness, LTE obsession, iPad epistemology, the case for cases

By , Network World
February 15, 2012 01:54 PM ET

Network World - March Madness is already infecting the iOSsphere in February, as rumors ignite about launching the Next iPad in just three weeks.

This week: the iOSsphere lusts for LTE, Apple orders zillions of iPad 3 screens, Jonathan Geller and the Cloud of Knowing, subtle differences in the iPad 3 back cover reveal...subtle differences in the iPad 3 back cover.

You read it here second.

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"If these reports are true, Apple is thinking big for its new tablet."

Jake Smith, 9t05Mac, on the importance of relabeling "rumors" as "reports" to justify stating the obvious as a startling insight.


iPad 3 will be announced in first week of March

Forget college basketball. This year, March Madness means the iPad 3 launch. And we can thank "sources" for this information, according to John Paczkowski, of the All Things D blog for The Wall Street Journal. 

Subsequent posts throughout the iOSsphere now narrow The Day to March 7. You can expect to see soon new posts giving detailed historico-cultural-politico-economic analysis of the relative merits of Apple announcing on a Wednesday vs. Tuesday, or Monday, or Thursday....

Whatever day it is, it will be a special event, "presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple's preferred location for big announcements like these, Paczkowski writes. The sources couldn't or didn't give him any information on when the Next iPad will go on sale, "though my guess is retail availability will follow roughly the same schedule as that of the iPad 2: Available for purchase a week or so after the event," Paczkowski writes.

And the sources say you should expect what the rumors, guesses, and fantasies -- though Paczkowski calls these "reports" -- have been telling you: 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 2048×1536 Retina Display — or something close to it." That's twice the iPad 2's current resolution but still quite a bit less in pixel density than the current iPhone 4S Retina Display.

"If 2011 was the year of the iPad 2, will 2012 be the year of the iPad 3?" asks Paczkowski, lobbing what journalists BDE (Before the Digital Era) used to call a "softball." The answer: "Said a source familiar with the device: 'What do you think?'"

iPad 3 will have LTE for sure

Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reports this week that Verizon and AT&T, which are the only two U.S. mobile carriers offering the 3G iPad 2, will sell an iPad 3 model that runs on their 4G/LTE cellular networks. The reporters couldn't discover whether the other big mobile carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile USA, will also sell it.

The Journal argues that the two carriers "banking heavily on LTE to attract new subscribers and to get existing subscribers to upgrade to more lucrative monthly smartphone and tablet contracts." Presumably that means upgrading from a lower-end 3G phone used mainly for voice, and adding some kind of cellular data plan. An LTE iPad could help them "drum up demand for the faster service, in the way the original iPhone dramatically increased demand for 3G wireless data plans."

Another reason to encourage the shift, according to the story, is that LTE networks are up to 50% more efficient than today's more widely deployed 3G networks, which means carriers can do more with the same amount of spectrum.

Apple orders 65 million higher-def iPad 3 displays

Sites like 9to5Mac picked up a Chinese language post at China Times which claims that Apple has ordered 65 million displays for iPad 3, with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch.

China Times sources for the "report" are people in Apple's Asian supply chain and "South Korean media news." In other words, other rumors.

Despite this, 9to5Mac's Jake Smith generously calls the China Times post a "report" and observers that "Apple ordered a whopping 65 million 264PPI Retina displays from both LG and Samsung. Both have reportedly already begun production, as well. It is not clear if this number includes orders from Sharp, who is rumored to be building displays from the iPad 3."

The real unanswered question here is clearly: who is NOT building displays for iPad 3?

As is the case with nearly everyone, Smith doesn't actually quote from China Times. And with Google Translate, we know why. Here's the opening: "According to the Apple supply chain vendors and the South Korean media news, Apple commissioned by Samsung and LGD iPad3 retina panel (Retina Display) has been the mass production stage, this year's panel purchases of at least 65 million, on behalf of Apple iPad3 shipments this year...."

"For comparison," Smith helpfully adds, "Apple ordered 40 million displays for the iPad 2. Today's report indicates a substantial 60 percent to 70 percent increase over iPad 2. If these reports are true, Apple is thinking big for its new tablet."

Even if these "reports" are false, Rollup's guess is that Apple is thinking big for its new tablet.

The iPad 3 is known to Jonathan S. Geller

In a Valentine's Day post for readers of Boy Genius Report (or "BGR, the three biggest letters in tech☺, Jonathan S. Geller led with the headline, "What I know about the iPad 3," which might suggest that the three biggest letters in tech are actually JSG.

It's not really clear how JSG knows what he knows, the epistemological dilemmas of the iOSsphere being what they are. And he actually suggests that what he knows is only part of his post, the rest being "what's been rumored and reported" and "what I'd wager" the Next iPad will have. He also relies on grainy photographs with deliberately blurred-out fields that don't reveal very much at all, but qualify as "exclusive reports," as Rollup noted last week

So, what JSG knows is this: "Retina Display is a near-certainty," essentially doubling the iPad 2's resolution, though it would still have fewer pixels-per-inch than the iPhone 4S Retina Display; LTE is a "very solid chance"; better cameras; Wi-Fi and cellular models; quad-core processor, which will also be in the iPhone 5 later this year; larger battery to compensate for the LTE modem's power demands; iOS 5.1, which is a "no-brainer"; and Siri, or at least some parts of Siri.

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