What We Expect From Apple’s iPad 3 Announcement Today [Updated]


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Apple has officially confirmed that an iPad event is set to take place today, Wednesday, March 7th, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. “We have something you really want to see. And touch,” teases the press invitation.

Months and months of rampant speculation and conspiracy stories have built up to next week’s event, and no one really knows what Apple has planned, other than a new iPad. The Retina display is widely expected to make its way to Apple’s tablet. Will it even be called the iPad 3? Will it be offered at a new price point? Let’s take a look at the rumors and examine what we think we know.

Retina Display

If there’s anything we know about Apple’s next-gen tablet, it’s that it will rock a sexy Retina display. What does that mean, exactly? The iPad 3’s display would be double the linear resolution of the original iPad, up from 1024×768 to a whopping 2048×1536. For context, that’s more pixels than most Macs can handle.

MacRumors got its hands on what it believes to be an iPad 3 display and examined the thing under a microscope. Part leaks and a mountainous stack of corroborations from other publications have agreed that a Retina display is headed to the iPad next week.

Faster Hardware

Apple has been expected to bring its A6 chip with a quad-core processor to the iPad 3, but there’s been some discrepancies in recent reports about what exactly will power the upcoming tablet. Apple has always introduced its new iOS devices in tandem with an updated processor, and history would put the iPad 3 on track for the A6.

A Chinese forum recently posted a photo of an alleged iPad 3 logic board that put a new spin on the rumors. The photo revealed a ‘A5X’ Apple processor and proposed that the A6 wouldn’t be making its way to the iPad 3 after all. While the chip could be an incremental update for the iPad 3, it could also indicate another product altogether. iOS 5 beta code and publications like iMore and Bloomberg suggest that Apple’s next-gen processor will be quad-core, but The Verge says it will only be dual-core. 9to5Mac claims that Apple is actually working on the A5X and A6 chips simultaneously, with the quad-core A6 belonging to the iPad 3 and the dual-core A5X possibly debuting inside a new Apple TV.

Better Cameras

We haven’t heard a lot in this particular part of the rumor mill, but leaked iPad 3 parts do reveal that the device’s camera sensor will be larger. Considering how awful the iPad 2’s cameras are, it would be a crying shame for Apple to not improve them this time around. It would also make little sense for a Retina display-equipped tablet to not have higher-res cameras for FaceTime. It’s typical for Apple to increase the camera quality in its devices with each new generation.


Despite little supply chain evidence, The Wall Street Journal believes that the iPad 3 will feature 4G LTE network support. The theory is that Apple will use the iPad to test 4G with the carriers in anticipation for the sixth-generation iPhone. According to the WSJ, the iPad 3 will be able to switch between 4G and 3G data speeds based on network coverage. Boy Genius Report also found evidence for LTE recently via a debugging tool that was allegedly ran on a prototype iPad 3. The feature would presumably be available on both AT&T and Verizon in the United States. Coincidentally, Qualcomm recently introduced LTE chips that require less power consumption and switch between 3G and 4G frequencies. We have also heard reports that Verizon is installing LTE equipment in Apple Stores ahead of the launch. We say this is starting to look likely, but not certain.

Similar Form Factor

Based on a slew of part leaks and reports, the iPad 3 will look nearly identical to its predecessor. iLounge editor in chief Jeremy Horwitz claims to have seen the shell in person, saying, “I’d show you a picture, but there’s honestly nothing to be seen. Think iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S: this device so resembles the iPad 2 that differences are only obvious when they’re placed next to each other. From the back, you could walk past this new iPad on display and have no idea that anything had changed.”

The iPad 3 will have a 9.7-inch screen and probably be about a millimeter thicker than the iPad 2. Chinese blog Apple.pro has apparently compared the two tablet frames and concluded that the iPad 3 will be 9.50mm thick. The iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick.

If you’d like a more comprehensive look at the device’s exterior, we have an exclusive gallery of leaked images for your perusal.


This one is a little far-fetched, but there’s a chance that Siri will make its way to the iPad 3. Despite the fact that Siri can run on the iPhone 4 and other iOS devices just fine, reports have said that Siri only works well on the iPhone 4S because of noise-canceling technology in the A5 processor. Apple could include the necessary hardware to make the iPad 3 Siri-approved. We found direct references to Siri in the iOS 5.1 beta on the iPad, so there’s a definite chance we’ll see the digital assistant make its tablet debut next week. However, we’ve been skeptical in the past Apple will include Siri on the iPad 3, since they can’t guarantee a net connection.

Pricing And Availability

It’s widely assumed that the next-gen iPad will start at $499 like its predecessors, although a rumor from China has suggested that the starting iPad 3 model will cost $80 more than its iPad 2 counterpart.

When Apple introduced the iPad 2 last year, it kept offering the original iPad for $399 for a limited time. Something along the same lines is likely to happen this time around as well. Dropping the iPad 2’s price by a couple hundred dollars would trigger a lot of impulse buys and create a cheaper option for those that aren’t captivated by the Retina display.

Photos of iPad 3 shipments arriving around the world have surfaced, and Apple is rumored to make its next-gen iPad available for sale on March 16th. There’s been no word on if there will be pre-orders, but it’s certainly possible.

iOS 5.1

Rumors have suggested that iOS 5.1 is set to drop on Friday, March 9th. There’s a chance that Apple will release the developer GM the day of the announcement on Wednesday followed by a public release two days later. The new iPad will definitely ship with 5.1, so expect to have the new software on your other devices before you’re able to pick up an iPad 3. Expect the release to fix all the security flaws certain iOS apps have highlighted over the last few weeks. There may be a few other surprises too.

The 5.1 GM is said to be quality assurance phase with Apple and its carrier partners, meaning the release is imminent. Chronic Wire says the software will include a revamped lock screen for accessing your camera, Japanese Siri support, and two other “mysterious” features.

Apple TV

Apple is also expected to unveil a new Apple TV alongside the iPad 3. It won’t be the mythical television Jobs envisioned, but an upgraded version of the current set-top box. 1080p video, Bluetooth 4.0, and the A5X processor are all expected features.

iPad Mini?

The Wall Street Journal recently stirred this particular part of the rumor mill again with a report saying that Apple is prototyping a smaller, 8-inch iPad alongside the iPad 3. The rumored device would be cheaper than the flagship iPad and assumedly take on products like the Kindle Fire. Many arguments have been made for why such a device will exist, but we’re skeptical of any such announcement happening next week.

iPad HD

There’s been some heated debate on whether Apple will name the next iPad the “iPad HD” instead of the “iPad 3.” We’ve weighed in on the issue, and several other publications have been adamant that Apple will not give it the “3” suffix, but instead go with “HD” to better market the Retina display to consumers. Opinions are split, so place your bets!


Other rumors suggest that Microsoft may debut Office for iPad, but we also find that to be far-fetched. Some have suggested that we’ll see something like Aperture for iPad, which would make sense for a Retina display iPad. There have been whispers that Apple will lose the 30-pin dock connector in favor of something more modern, but there’s no telling if such a change will happen this year.

Bottom line: The iPad 3 is going to be awesome. We’ll let you know when you can get in line to buy.

  • FriarNurgle

    Wonder if Cook will still be the main guy on stage?

  • Douglas Bubbletrousers

    “… to a whopping 2048×1536. For context, that’s more pixels than the 27-inch iMac can handle.” Isn’t 2560×1440(3,686,400) more than 3,145,728? I mean, that’s how I learned numbers work.

  • Bob_Zimmerman

    I REALLY hope not.  I don’t know a thing about how well he’s doing as the new boss, but his presentation skills leave so much to be desired.  I’d much rather see Phil, but no one compares to who used to get up there.


    We could give him the benefit of the doubt that he meant to say 21-inch iMac… But he probably didn’t… The rumored iPad 3 will have more pixels in it’s 9.7-inch screen than any Mac with a screen excepting the 27-inch iMac.

  • Rosa

    absolutely Cook is te main man

  • Jaap Steensma

    “We’ll let you know when you can get in line to buy”
    This is a typical American ending to an American article about an American product. “Buy, buy, buy” is all you hear. We don’t even know for sure whether it’s a good product or not but already CoM finds it necessary to recommend buying the product.

    What ever happened to waiting and weighing in the options?

  • Srose428

    Given the horrible response and sales of the iPad and 2nd Gen models I can see where your doubts begin and reasoning stops.  The screen on this iPad alone would be worth me upgrading from the iPad 2 but add better cameras, processor…its going to blow away any comps.

  • Bob Whipple

    I will say I will be very disappointed if Siri is not on the new iPad. 

  • Wes

    Do you actually think APPLE…of all companies will release a NEW product that isn’t better than the last? No. And with the failing economies of the WORLD, really ONE of the ways to stimulate the economy is by buying products. But surely you wouldn’t know any of that since you spoke out of your behind.

  • Gregintosh

    I like how the Don’t Miss story is an absurd prediction about a 6144×4708 pixel iPad 3 coming last Christmas. One thing this “Don’t Miss” section does on almost all the articles is it demonstrates how spectacularly wrong most predictions and speculations really are.

    But anyway, my predictions are going to be pretty conservative: Retina display iPad, better graphics/speed, and possibly the new Apple TV. 

  • Gregintosh

    There’s no need to put on a show of “weighing the options” for weeks or months when the answer is going to be pretty clear minutes after the announcement for most fans.

    Given Apple’s track record in releasing iOS devices, its probably easy to predict that it will be a must buy for most techies.

  • Ed_Kel

    I think it’s funny that a big bad blog site that claims they know all of the ins and outs about Apple can’t even read their announcements correctly. What do you think “….and touch” means? Mark my words – the iPad3 will have capacitive touch features; whether or not it’s in the form of no longer having a home button or not is anyone’s guess. “Let’s talk iPhone” meant Siri. “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”….?!?!Come on CoM! Can’t connect the dots? It ain’t rocket science…

  • lowtolerance

    Yeah, yeah… Jobs was a phenomenal public speaker, but does it really matter that much who presents and how? The products speak for themselves, as they should.

  • Radtech51

    Very excited to see what will happen on the 7th. It’s sure to get a-lot of attention ether way.

  • Tom Roesler

    I think what we are going to get is the IPAD 3D.  Look at the icon images.  The chosen icon is sharp as is the hand and the other are blurry.  What we have here is a 3D effect…that is why all the “3” references and maybe why the ipad 3 is rumored to be 1mm thicker.

  • koreys

    I agree.. .why doesn’t this article even mention the fact that there is no home button on the invitation image? Other sites have confirmed by the spacing of the icons that the iPad in the image is in fact in portrait orientation. No Home Button is a big change.

  • Sean Cosgrave

    my guess is that there will be a new iPad and from the invitation ” we have something for you to see, and touch” sounds like they are saying a new apple tv of some sort being the something to see bit and a new iPad or some touch device being the touch part. thats my guess, i can’t see apple releasing the iPad with LTE yet because I’m in ireland and LTE is pretty much non existent here, sure u can buy phones that have the feature but the service isn’t really there yet, and apple have always released products with features usable in every country. even ireland. thats just my guess anyway guys. 

  • Tom Roesler

    Also, if you position the fingers of your hand exactly like that in the photo and them lift them off of the bezel, your hand is forming the letter “d”…..that’s right folks…..3 icons and a “D”…or 3D

  • alexheath

    The thing has a Home button.

  • Rachel Wynkoop

    I’m counting down the days.

  • Kelly Welch

    “and touch” could mean a larger Touch tablet-type device to compete with the Kindle Fire.  I hope.  My fingers are crossed.  iPad 2 is too big.  It would be smart of Apple to make a smaller tablet to cater to women who want an iPad’s functionality but more purse size. 

  • Jennifer Martin

    We now know from the clues Apple put on their invitations that the new iPad will have an HD display, among a few other things.  This article compares the news media and their invites to Ralphie and his decoder ring on       The Christmas Story…. hilarious.
    http://theipad3.com/apple-ipad… more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech

  • Ed_Kel

    We’ll shall see. But I’m telling ya, there is NO REASON for Apple to make a touch reference without hinting to some sort of capacitive touch technology.

    It could hint towards an all new device I guess, like a smaller iPad. Apple is very elusive with their announcements but they tend to hint to exactly what they’re talking about. I wouldn’t disregard “….And touch” so quickly.

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  • Benjamin O

    Could be an Apple TV with a touchscreen remote?


    So this is probably way out there, but…there was a rumour floating around that the iPhone 5 was going to have an infrared (virtual) keyboard.  Could the references to “and touch”, as well as “keynote” refer to the iPad 3 shipping with an infrared keyboard?  Now that would be very cool and EXTREMELY useful.

  • Louie Campagna

    I’d rather see Forstall run most of the show.

  • CharliK

    No it doesn’t. If anything having a whiz bang presenter risks that whole ‘rock god’ status issue that happened with Steve and caused issues. The last thing we need is for the stock value to drop cause it leaks out that Tim Cook farted and it smelled bad. Or Jonny Ive stayed home with a little head cold. 

  • CharliK

    They don’t mention it because Apple has publicly admitted they shop their product photos. So it is possible they did that in this case. Meaning you can’t take anything from the announcement image as proof either way

  • CharliK

    That touch could be anything. it could be a reference to the fact that the iPad has a touch screen. it could be that they are going to announce an improved oleo phobic coating. It could be there are new multitouch gestures. 

  • CharliK

    Why? They haven’t slowed down in sales since the Fire came out. Why would they compete with something that isn’t an issue for them. 

  • nexvick

    To everyone who is talking about the fact that there is no “Home” button. Based on the positioning of the water droplets, this is indeed in portrait mode. However, those droplets are on the right hand side of the screen. If you look at the position of the icon to the left of the calendar and match that up with your own iPad, you would know that the home button would not be visible in this photograph. That’s not to say that I know whether or not Apple will have a physical or capacitive home button. My point is that it is impossible to make such an assertion based on this particular photograph.

  • Shane Bryson

    How in the world, would that ever be useful at all? NEVER. 

  • Shane Bryson

    iPad 2 is the perfect size and smaller tablet would be a TERRIBLE move on Apple’s part. This is demonstrated by the terrible sales of 7-8 inch devices.

  • Shane Bryson

    You sir, are not smart.

  • Shane Bryson

    The reference is referring to two devices. iPad is touch, TV is see. Very simple. You are reading WAY too deep into it.

  • Shane Bryson

    because it has been pretty much accepted that the iPad in the invitation photo is in portrait mode, in which case you WOULD NOT see the home button. It’s there, just not in that part of the photo.

  • nathanl1192

    We know that Tim Cook is a fantastic CEO, who has done wonders for the company, and I don’t think he’s that bad on stage, yet it doesn’t seem to be his job to announce. I think he will appear, although it will be Phil and Scott who make the actual announcement.

  • Sean Shamus McCabe

    The anticipation is killing me

    LOL The Last sectionm should read more like this…

    MiscellaneousOther rumors suggest that Microsoft may debut Office for iPad, but nobody seems to give a @$^@ either way

  • Ed_Kel

    I doubt the iPad will be called HD. Schiller’s own Twitter feed says this – “
    I’m downloading an update for iBooks and the iTunes U app on my iPad 3.” – Jan 19

  • Hayden Evans

    I like Phil

  • prof_peabody

    What a stupid insulting comment.  

    Tim Cook has led exactly *one* presentation so far.  If you remember, this is the one where his best friend lay dying, too sick to come to the show.  If his presentation skills were a little less than fantastic that day I’m sure you can see a reason why that may have been the case?  

    At least let him get one more under his belt before you start criticising.

  • prof_peabody

    I don’t like him.  

    He is so obviously fake in everything he says and every facial expression he has.  He reminds me of a bad waiter who is too much in your face.  

  • WardC

    Apple NEVER “officially confirmed” that this was an iPad event!!!!!!! They NEVER did — they simply showed this photo on the invitation. For all we know, this could be a photo of the new iSlate™ Tabletop computer we have been waiting on, to fill the new product category analysts have been talking about. AGAIN, Apple NEVER confirmed this was an iPad-related event, or any iPad was going to be introduced, EVER.

  • Shane Bryson

    The Tweet you are referencing is on the FAKE Schiller twitter, not his real official one. You are really hurting yourself across the comment boards today.

  • Brendan Ryan

    I read somewhere about the slim possibility of the new Mac Pro being announced at this event. Can anyone shed any light on this rumour?

  • Mike U

    Will the event be broadcasted for Mac lovers to watch live?

  • xnickitynickx

    No, i really think it’s the touchscreen portal access pad for the new iUFO that we’ve been waiting for.  
    Apple NEVER confirmed that this wasn’t for transportation!

  • Len Williams

    Please keep the ignorant stereotypes and anti-American rants out of your comments. Apple has a very predictable track record of record-breaking high-quality products that people all over the world have purchased by the millions because of their reliability and usefulness. Apple sells tens of millions of its products outside of the U.S. and they are generally LOVED, not liked, by most users. The potential for Apple to release a bad product at this stage of the game is so tiny that it’s not even worth bothering about. If you were familiar with Apple products you would be aware of that. 

  • stanley334

    My prediction, and why it’s something you can touch:

    The iPad will have a touch responsive display, giving physical feedback to the users touch.

  • Brandon Wu

    It really does, it’s what keeps me watching their keynotes and unveilings. 

  • Jordan Clay

     Lets not forget the last time he gave a presentation, really his only time, his best friend was on his death bed and died a day later.   I’m willing to give him a break on that one.

  • SupaMac

     What happened to your post from Phil’s ‘official’ twitter page? hahahah

    anyways, the Apple Store is down, don’t yall usually report on that?

  • Ed_Kel

    Really hurting myself? Hardly. 2 or more creditable blog sites posted an article confirming the twitter post from an account that seemed to have been an exact replica of @pschiller:disqus (picture, blue check mark and all). After doing research and checking the feed myself, it seemed legit and I posted the above comment. I stand corrected, though in my defense, I can only go with the information that I found that, again, at the time seemed legit, just like Cult of Mac and 9to5Mac.

  • baby_Twitty

    No live feeds from the event? CultOfMac editors banned by Apple from future events? (Due to endless publication of leaked informations and jailbreaking posts… lol)

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  • Stumbleberry

    You know a product is overpriced when they ship by PLANE!

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