It's expected that Apple's next mobile iOS processor, which will likely be called the A6, will debut alongside the new iPad 3 that should be introduced sometime in the next month or two. Today we're learning that the latest iOS 5.1 beta includes processing core management controls that support both dual-core and quad-core chips. One would of course conclude that the expectation here is that the A6 processor will be a quad-core chip. There's nothing more than rumor for now, but it definitely wouldn't surprise us, based on Apple's update cycle. There are already quad-core Android tablets floating around, and we find it a little hard to believe (though not impossible) that Apple would stick witha dual-core chip rather than iterating to a quad-core design for the next iPad and the iPhone 5.
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As 9to5Mac noted, Apple typically unveils its gadgets at press events on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and launches those products on a Friday or Saturday. Feb. 24 is a Friday, so if there's any truth to the rumor, the iPad 3 would probably hit stores that day but be introduced earlier in the month.
The iPad 2 hit stores on Friday, March 11; it was unveiled on Wednesday, March 2. Jobs, who at the time was on medical leave, returned to show off the new tablet. "We've been working on this product for awhile and I didn't want to miss today," Jobs said at the time.
The iPad 3 rumors are in full swing and many of them are focused on a new device possibly arriving as soon as the first quarter of 2012. But a new bit of information has just emerged that makes the next generation of iPads even more enticing, and it has to do with a smaller form factor.
Chinese tech site Digitimes has gone on record with a source that says Apple will introduce a new iPad size in 2012. According to the source, the new size will be 7.85 inches, a size specifically designed to compete head-to-head with the newly popular Kindle Fire from Amazon. The current generation of iPads are 9.5 inches tall, while the Kindle Fire measures just 7.5 inches, making it easier to tuck into a spare pocket or hold for extended periods of time while reading an e-book.
According to the report, the smaller iPads wouldn't arrive until later in the year. The report states, "In addition to purchasing 7.85-inch panels from LG Display, Apple will also buy panels from AU Optronics (AUO), indicated the sources, adding that makers in the supply chain are likely to begin production of the 7.85-inch models at the end of the second quarter of 2012."
We're entering that special time of year. No, not the season when people begin to wrap presents and trim their trees, but those months leading up to the period when it's assumed that Apple will launch its next-gen tablet that iPad rumors abound.
The latest report comes from Digitimes, which has claimed makers of iPad displays including Samsung, LG, and Sharp shipped one million high-res panels for the iPad 3 in October. It also said these suppliers will increase shipments to two million units in November.
Apple will begin assembling the third iPad in January of 2012, Digitimes also said.
It alleged that Apple is developing a new 7.85-inch panel, and suppliers AU Optronics (AUO) and LG have already sent samples to Apple. However, Digitimes said it couldn't determine whether or not Apple would add an iPad of this size to its line next year.
Apple would like its third-generation tablet to have a Retina Display, but CNet’s source said LG and Samsung, makers of Apple tablet panels, are having trouble packing the huge number of pixels necessary into a 10-inch screen.
Retina display, according to Apple’s definition, means the “display’s pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels.” The iPhone 4S features a Retina Display with a resolution of 960x620. Apple packed 326 pixels per inch (PPI) into the 3.5-inch screen to give graphics a super sharp, seamless look. It’s the most detail a human retina can see at a distance of 12 inches, Apple has said.
CNet noted that it’s not possible to cram that many pixels into the iPad 3. Display manufacturers like Samsung and LG have created displays with a maximum of 2,048x1,536 resolution, for 264 PPI, and at this point, that’s as high as they’ve been able to take the resolution of tablet’s screens. While that’s twice the 132 PPI on the iPad 2, it’s still not quite Retina Display quality.
A few weeks back, I wrote a column discussing the tablet that Amazon is rumored to introduce this fall. Since then, I have heard a few more things about this tablet that are quite interesting. In my last column on this topic, I stated that the center of its design would be on reading books. That appears to be true, as multiple sources tell me that it will have the best reading experience of any tablet on the market. But, I am also hearing that Amazon is using pretty low-cost parts and not using any of the major manufacturers that are producing most of the tablets for mainstream competitors. Apparently, the company's key goal is to make the tablet very inexpensive and then use a new business model to own the Android tablet market.
I believe that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows that all of the other Android vendors are at a big disadvantage when it comes to competing with Apple. Apple has a two-year lead on them, a great app store and services program, and a soon-to-be-key technology, the iCloud, which will keep all iOS apps and devices in-sync. And it has 250 million users' credit cards and hundreds of retail stores to help people learn about the iPad and buy one on the spot. None of the other tablet vendors can even come close to matching what Apple has to offer, except maybe Amazon. Although Amazon does not have retail stores like Apple does, it does have an Appstore for Android, music and movies for downloading, the Amazon Cloud Drive for storage, and the credit cards of 200+ million users. It also has limited channel partners, like Best Buy, that it could expand as well. But, I hear that while its tablet could marginally compete against Apple, this is not the company Amazon is going after with its tablet offering. It is smarter than that. Rather, I believe Amazon's goal is to be the market leader in Android and be the top seller of tablets with this mobile OS.
A "source" allegedly told The Korea Herald that "Apple wants to tap into Samsung's AMOLED technology for an upgraded version of the iPad 2." The site also claimed that Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook started chatting with Samsung about the possibility of integrating the technology on a recent trip to South Korea, and it pegs the end of the year for the launch of Apple's next-generation tablet.
Apple didn't upgrade the iPad's display with the second iteration of the device it released in March, and rumors about the fabled iPad 3's screen have already started to trickle in. Earlier this month, reports circulated that the next iPad will feature a 3D display.