Now that the iPhone 4S is rapidly becoming Apple's best-selling device, the rumor mill turns its attention to the forthcoming iPad 3, widely expected in the first quarter of 2012. Today's rumor offering comes from a part leaked on TVC Mall's site that reportedly is a replacement microphone unit for the iPad 3.
The unit (originally discovered by Cydia Blog), when compared with the iPad 2's current part, shows a major change in the shape of the device. With a change this major, one might assume that the entire interior of the iPad 3 could be getting an overhaul. And by means of extrapolation, that could signal a significant case redesign.
Of course when we put things into perspective, it is unlikely that a microphone redesign would actually result in a case change, not to mention Apple seems pretty well set on the general look and feel of the iPad lineup. So, don't put your hopes into a crazy new case only to be disappointed if it doesn't change much.
I'm looking at you, iPhone 4S haters.
In actuality, the updated part is most likely a response to accommodating Apple's A6 processor (expected but not confirmed) or any number of other new technologies (updated Bluetooth, more RAM, USB 3.0, NFC) that may appear with the iPad 3. As usual, we probably will not get a clear sense for what the iPad 3 actually will be until it is announced by Tim Cook.
The more-intriguing rumors at this point are still the "when" rumors. Some reports have the iPad 3 announced and available as early as February, while others suggest mid- to late summer. Whatever the date, you can be sure the rumors will continue to pour in as parts manufacturers continue to distribute elements of the device.
What's at the top of your iPad 3 hardware wishlist? Let me know in the comments!