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iPad 3 rumor rollup for the week of Feb. 21

iSmall, display hype, the supply chain exposed.

By , Network World
February 22, 2012 03:31 PM ET

Network World - In the real world, leaks cause you to sink, but in the iOSsphere they cause you to float, higher and higher.

With iPad 3, a news leak is anything that confirms your own thinking or longing. This week, the iOSsphere longs for a smaller iPad, Retina Display, revelations of the secret Apple supply chain, and savors the subtlest of differences with iPad 2.

You read it here second.

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"However, it is entirely possible this particular reseller is exploiting the iPad 3 hype to get some attention."

Christian Zibreg, 9to5Mac, neatly summarizing the entire value chain of iPad 3 rumoring.

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iPad 3 is a precursor to a smaller 7-inch iPad

Two stock analysts are predicting that iPad 3 will only be the first Next iPad launched in 2012. The second: a "smaller, more affordable" iPad with a 7-inch screen and a price tag of $299.

That's according to a story at EE Times by Sylvie Barak. It's just the latest version of a persistent, months-long iOSsphere conviction that the idea of a smaller iPad is simply so sound that Apple must be planning it.

In this newest prediction, the iSmall will be considered the affordable iPad, with iPad 2, repriced lower, taking the mid-range, and iPad 3 at the high-end, according to Brett Simpson and Richard Kramer of Arete Research. EE Times quoted from their assessment: "Given the iPad 3 aims to use higher spec parts (quad-core CPU, higher resolution display, LTE, and improved camera) there is plenty of scope to offer a cost down model supporting $100 lower bill of materials." (Clearly, they've been reading plenty of other iPad 3 rumors.)

But the same could be said of repriced iPad 2 models - a "cost down model" with a lower price tag. Apple has been repricing iPhones each time the latest generation is announced. Currently, the three Wi-Fi-only iPad models, with 16G, 32G and 64GB of storage are $499, $599 and $699; with 3G, each models adds about $130.

As EE Times' Barak noted, the late Steve Jobs derided smaller screen tablets; and the 9.7-inch size for the iPad seems to have been based on a lengthy series of internal design iterations. Barak writes the two analysts "believe the new management is revisiting the idea" but they apparently didn't offer any evidence to support that.

iPad 3 parts show it will have Retina Display

"iPad 3 parts are supposedly cropping up all over China," writes Christian Zibreg, at 9to5Mac. And the latest ones are from the Japanese Website, Macotakara, which republished photos first posted by a parts reseller, Eye Lab Factory, of a tablet's display componentry.

Eye Lab apparently claims the display is by Sharp, that it's high resolution, that it's 9.7 inches diagonal, and that "its flat cable corresponds to a similar cable connecting the iPad 2′s LCD panel to the motherboard," Zibreg writes.

Zibreg adds the pro forma iOSsphere caveats about taking all this with "several grains of salt." And after he describes another parts reseller posting images of things like an iPad 3 "internal earphone jack and a Bluetooth antenna flex cable," he cautions, "However, it is entirely possible this particular reseller is exploiting the iPad 3 hype to get some attention."

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