The iPad 3 could follow hot on the heels of the iPad 2. So what's the word on the street about the next iPad?
Apple iPad 3 release date
The iPad 3 release date looks set for March or April 2012, with an iPad 3 announcement in March to coincide with the release of iOS 5.1.
Website YourDailyMac has unearthed iOS 5.1 carrier profiles which carry the possible iPad 3 release date of 9 March 2012 in their names.
However, we'd expect the iPad 3 announcement to be in February, with the iPad 3 US release date in early March and the iPad 3 UK release date in late March.
Digitimes reported in late November 2011 that panel makers had already started shipping panels for the new iPad 3 - a million in October and two million in November.
Foxconn, Apple's major manufacturing partner, is said to have started production of the iPad 3 in January. 2012. A source at one of Apple's partners also told Bloomberg also stated that the company began production of the iPad 3 in January, with a view to reaching full volumes in February.
Digitimes says the new model is expected to meet the heady heights of 9.5 to 9.8 million units over the course of Q1 2012.
The Apple iPad 3 will have a quad-core processor
It's probable that the iPad 3 will have a brand spanking new processor, Apple's A6 - which will surely be a quad-core ARM-based processor. Quad-core designs are coming from various ARM partners and the Tegra 3 has already been launched by Nvidia, as well as the Snapdragon S4 from Qualcomm.
According to the Korea Times in November 2011, the A6 processors are to be manufactured by Samsung, despite the companies' ongoing patent battles.
Apple iPad 3 display
A retina display was widely predicted for the iPad 2, but of course the current iPad doesn't have a double-resolution display: for now, that's something you'll only get in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Could an iPad 3 Retina Display be on the way? It's the very first thing on our iPad 3 wish list.
The exciting news is that it looks as though it is happening, with Apple reportedly testing suppliers' current shipments of 2048 x 1536 resolution 9.7-inch displays. Now that iBooks 2 has been launched (as of 19 January 2012), we've also seen further references to 2x iPad screen images - these will, most likely, be for iPad 3.
However, it's not always been plain sailing for the display - rumours continued over the summer and autumn of 2011 that the retina display in the iPad 3 was continuing to be a challenge.
Back in May 2011, we reported that the iPad 3 could launch with a Samsung-made AMOLED screen, following rumours that Apple was in talks on the matter with Samsung execs. There have also been more LG and Samsung rumours, too.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal in late November 2011, Sharp will manufacture panels for the device. Apparently Apple is investing in infrastructure at Sharp's LCD plant. Further rumours said that Apple is looking to implement some nifty dual LED lightbar technology into the iPad 3, apparently in a bid to counter-balance the brightness issue that the Apple tablet may have, due to its super-high pixel density.
A part leak in early December again pointed to a Sharp-manufactured 2048x1536 retina display and dual lightbar.
Ipad 3 Release date, specs and more for the next iPad