CNET tracks all the Apple iPad 3 rumors -- from the likely to the crazy -- that we've heard so far.
Donald BellSenior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Update: Apple's third-generation iPad is now available. Read CNET's full review for more details.
With the success Apple is enjoying with the iPad 2, we're not sure it even needs to make an iPad 3.
It will, of course--even if it doesn't use that name. We now know that Apple is unveiling its next iPad in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 7. But until then, it's open season on iPad 3 rumors.
In this ongoing blog post, we'll be collecting the best, most interesting rumors and predictions for the next Apple tablet. Which of these rumors will pan out? We'll know soon enough.
Looking for an iPhone 5 rumor roundup? We have one of those too.
March 6 New claim says iPad HD will have 4G LTE
Citing a source familiar with the upcoming tablet, Reuters reported that the next iPad will support 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networking, a technology that is faster than 3G, and that has become prevalent inside smartphones and tablets made by Apple's competitors. This adds to previous such claims from competitors Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal (see below).
March 5 Next iPad to be called "iPad HD"
A developer who previously provided reliable information with respect to things Apple and otherwise tells CNET that the next iPad uses the HD moniker instead of going with "iPad 3." VentureBeat posted similar information, adding that Apple is shopping for sub-8-inch screens for a smaller model to release later this year.
March 4 Is this what the iPad 3 will look like?
M.I.C. Gadget, a China-based blog, posted a video of various alleged iPad 3 parts, including the front glass and rear shell, showing what the new device might look like when put together.
March 2 iPads running iOS 6 crop up in Web traffic logs
Ars Technica published some analysis of its latest traffic logs, pointing to the fact that it has received visits from iPads running iOS 6, and that those devices are located around Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
iPad 3 to be called iPad HD
An alleged part listing from iPad accessory manufacturers refers to the third-generation iPad as the iPad HD. Given the wealth of rumors pointing to an iPad with a high-resolution display, the moniker would seem fitting.
Will the iPad 3 really cost more? New rumor: Nope
Pointing to parts and pricing information provided by an anonymous source who has proved reliable in the past, 9to5Mac says that Apple's new lineup of iPad models will carry the same capacities and price tags as existing versions. The report contradicts a posting from earlier in the month that suggested the iPad 3 would carry a premium price tag.
March 1 iPad 3 could be in short supply
Supplies of the high-resolution display panels expected in the next iPad could be tight, according to a source and an Asia-based report.
iPad 3 screen glass photographed
More alleged photos of the iPad 3's front glass have cropped up, possibly putting to rest whether the device will nix the home button. The glass depicts two colors of iPad 3: black and white.
iPad 3 a significant update, solves 4G energy demands
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu predicts that the iPad 3 will offer significant updates to the current model, including 4G LTE, Siri, processor performance, and screen quality. The 4G LTE implementation will be unique, apparently, avoiding the energy demands that plague most 4G devices.
Apple prepping 8GB iPad
A report from DigiTimes says Apple will follow its earlier iPhone move and offer a cheaper iPad 2 to flank the iPad 3 on store shelves. The move would allow Apple to cover other segments of the tablet market, including those currently controlled by cheaper alternatives, like the Amazon Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet.
February 29 7.85-inch iPad due in Q3
DigiTimes reports that Apple will produce a smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch screen due out in the third quarter of 2012. The model is expected to sell for around $299, and use the same 1,024x768-pixel screen resolution found on the iPad 2.
February 28 iPad 3 casts off home button
There's a curious omission on the imagery of the iPad-theme invitation Apple released for its March 7 event: there's no home button in sight. The simplest explanation is that it's a photo of an iPad 2 on its side. It is possible, however, that Apple could make the move entirely to multifinger gesture control on the iPad 3, replacing the need for a home button.
February 27 iPad 3 report suggests pricier models on the way
A pricing matrix that appeared on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo over the weekend suggested that the iPad 3 will carry a pricing premium over the iPad 2, with entry-level models starting at $579 for Wi-Fi only, and $699 for the version with 3G cellular networking.
Best Buy trims $50 off iPad 2
Hinting that a new model could be just around the corner, Best Buy cut $50 off the price of existing iPad 2 units. The retailer has been known to cut prices of popular products before, but the timing is suspect given murmurs of an upcoming event for a new model.
February 24 Future iPads, iPhones to get smaller dock port?
A report from iMore says Apple is on the cusp of switching to a smaller version of its dock port in iOS gadgets to make room for other components. Next on the list to get that, the report said, was the iPhone, with Apple's next iPad a possibility, too.
February 23 Supposed iPad 3 display goes under the microscope again
That display that may or may not belong to Apple's next iPad went under a microscope yet again, this time from the folks at iFixit, who have provided considerably clearer shots of the high-density panel, as well as a side-by-side video of it compared with the same part from the iPad 2.
February 22 Smaller iPad in 'testing stage,' says research firm
Adding to a separate report about Apple testing a smaller version of the iPad, Taipei-based market research firm TrendForce weighed in, saying its heard similar chatter. The firm added that if Apple were to introduce such a device, it would probably arrive near the end of 2012, right before Christmas.
February 21 Is this iPad 3's glass front?
A new shot making the rounds shows the glass front of the iPad 3, with the home button and holes for the front-facing camera and ambient-light sensor, in the same spots as last year's model.
February 19 Photos claim to expose inside, outside of iPad 3
Two separate reports pulled together alleged leaked photos of the iPad 3. One of those, from Chinese site WeiPhone, includes a shot of a purported circuit board for the device with an "A5X" processor, not the A6 as has been rumored. A separate report from Taiwanese blog Apple Daily showed photos of what it said was the finished metal back of an iPad 3, which sports a notably larger camera on the back of the device.
February 17 Is this the iPad 3's Retina Display?
A purported photo of the iPad 3's display is published by MacRumors. A microscopic inspection shows it to have more pixels than the current model, while maintaining the iPad's same 4:3 aspect ratio and 9.7-inch screen size.
February 14 Supplier chatter points to smaller 8-inch iPad
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is talking to component suppliers about an iPad with a smaller screen. This rumor matches up with a previous rumor that Apple may create three tiers of iPads, including a smaller model offered at an entry-level price.
February 13 Verizon and AT&T to back iPad 3 4G capability
The two telecom carriers will carry a next-generation iPad running on the fast, next-generation wireless technology, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. Both carriers currently offer versions of the iPad 2 that make use of their respective 3G networks.
February 10 Apple March announcement, iPad 2S a possibility
A source quoted by the New York Times claims that the next generation of the iPad will be announced in early March 2012, and will look very similar to the iPad 2. The article goes on to speculate that the new iPad may not be called "iPad 3," considering how Apple's modestly updated iPhone 4S was thought to be called the iPhone 5.
February 9 iPad 3 launch to coincide with iOS 5.1
Profiles created for different iPhone operators point to early March as a possible date for the release of iOS 5.1, one that could coincide with the debut of the iPad 3.
February 8 iPad 3 A5 processor will not be quad-core
A survey of current chipmakers leads to the conclusion that Apple will not use a quad-core chip on the iPad 3. Doing so would result in a serious hit on battery life and power efficiency--cornerstones of the iPad's success.
February 8 iPad 3 housing reveals internal changes
Analysis of a purported photo of an iPad 3 housing shows evidence of a redesigned logic board, larger battery, new camera, and new LCD panel. The housing is apparently no thicker than the iPad 2's, perhaps disproving the rumor that the iPad 3 will be slightly thicker to accommodate its new screen.
February 6 Sharp IGZO display possible for iPad 3
DisplaySearch analyst Charles Annis believes that Sharp's IGZO display technology is still a potential candidate for inclusion on the iPad 3. The analyst cites Sharp's current high-volume production of the panel, in spite of the fact that no commercial product has yet to use it.
February 2 Remember that rumored February iPad 3 event? Make it March
The rumor about a February iPad 3 introduction from Japanese Apple blog Macotakara last month got amended. The outlet's latest report says we can expect it to go down in March instead. The site added that Apple is still on track to have an event in February, but said the company won't usher in a new tablet.
February 1 Supposed iPad 3 debug data teases A6 chip, 4G data
Someone's already gotten his hands on an iPad 3, Boy Genius Report says. That person was even kind enough to send Boy Genius Report some photos of screenshots of a debugging routine that unearthed the name of the processor in the new model, as well as evidence there will be two distinct models. The big tidbits in the report were that there would be a quad-core chip and 4G LTE wireless networking, adding on to Bloomberg's report from January 13 (listed below).
January 19 Case manufacturers building iPad 3 cases, sans specs
Building an accessory for a gadget you don't have the specs for seems like a pretty bad idea, but that hasn't stopped at least one manufacturer. Chinese accessory maker Chinee has developed a case for Apple's next iPad based on information it has from an AppleInsider. Any big differences? The case is set up to allow for a model that's a tad thicker than Apple's current model.
January 17 iPad 3 to get February intro, March release
Citing an Asian supplier and "a source in United States," Japanese Apple blog Macotakara says Apple is cooking up a special event in "early February" to take the wraps off its next iPad, with a formal launch of the product taking place sometime the following month.
iPad 3 screen production ramping up strongly
Taiwanese news site DigiTimes claims that Sharp and LG Display are set to churn out 6 million to 7 million 9.7-inch QXGA panels in the next two and a half months, bumping that number up to 10 million produced during the second quarter. Meanwhile, production of iPad 2 panels is said to be tapering, with iPad 3 panel production set to outpace it in the second quarter.
January 13 iPad 3 to arrive in March with 4G LTE
According to a report from Bloomberg, the iPad 3 will land in the calendar first quarter with a quad-core chip and 4G LTE wireless networking.
January 11 Sharp out as an iPad 3 display manufacturer
Korean industry site Electronic Times Internet News publishes a report claiming that Sharp is out as a supplier for iPad 3 displays. Sharp had originally been rumored to be a main manufacturer of the high-density displays used in the iPad 3; the report suggests that the company did not meet Apple's specifications in its initial run of displays.
January 10 Pegatron has iPad 3 order for March, iPad 4 in October
Pegatron Technology, one of the major manufacturers of Apple's iPad, has already begun filling an order of iPad 3 units, to be released in March, DigiTimes reports. The report also says Pegatron is on deck to produce between 7 million and 10 million iPad 4 units, set to be released in October.
January 5 iPad 3 cameras going high-def
Bundling together a bevy of iPad 3 rumors, iLounge weighs in, saying the next iPad will sport better cameras than the iPad 2. That includes the front-facing camera, which comes in VGA quality on the current model. iLounge says Apple plans to bump it up to HD, while giving the rear camera the same module found in the iPhone 4S.
January 3 Three models, starting at $299
DigiTimes reports that Apple may create three tiers of iPad, allowing the existing iPad 2 model to linger as an inexpensive entry-level option.
December 12 iPad 3 expected in March/April 2012
After a supply chain analysis, DigiTimes predicts that Apple's iPad 3 will be ready for retail in three to four months. Given that the original iPad was released in April and the iPad 2 released in mid-March, the timing of this prediction seems consistent with Apple's history.
November 16 iPad 3 to use Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip
Qualcomm is the current manufacturer for the 3G mobile chip inside the iPhone 4S, so it stands to reason that Apple may take advantage of its latest and greatest chip for use in the iPad 3. Using the 4G-compatible mobile chip would make the iPad 3 the first 4G device Apple has produced.
October 26 iPad 3 QXGA display
Of all the iOS devices out there (including the iPhone and iPod Touch), the iPad is the last to receive the upgrade to Apple's Retina Display technology. The problem is that touch-screen manufacturers simply cannot yet make panels at the iPad's size with the same 326ppi pixel density. They can get close, though. QXGA resolution (2,048x1,536 pixels) gets you a pixel density of 264ppi, which is twice that of the iPad 2.
October 22 iPad 3 to use new dock connection type
With Apple pushing the benefits of the wireless "PC-free" features of iOS 5, it seems only a matter of time before Apple's universal dock connection disappears like some kind of vestigial tale carried over from its iPod ancestry. But before it disappears entirely, the folks at Macotakara believe there will be a new type of dock connection introduced that will break compatibility with all previous docking accessories.
October 15 Siri on iPad
The Apple iPhone 4S was sold almost entirely on two features: a better camera and a new virtual assistant named Siri. Software hackers quickly found a way to enable the iPad's version of the Siri assistant, buried in the code for iOS 5. Unfortunately, without the cooperation of Apple's servers, Siri will not work on iOS devices that Apple has not yet deemed ready for the feature.
September 6 iPad 3 to use thinner battery
This is another rather obvious prediction. In Apple's view, mobile technology can never be too thin. The iPad's current construction is devoted mostly to its battery, so a lighter, slimmer battery is crucial to further whittling down its design.
August 26 iPad 3 to use A6 processor
The idea that Apple's next-generation iPad would use a next-generation processor is to be expected. The more interesting tidbit from this rumor is that the chip may not be ready in time for the iPad's expected spring debut, pushing the product back to fall.
June 7 Two iPad 3 models
Could 2012 hold two iPads instead of just one? This rumor goes hand in hand with the rumor of the iPad Mini, then goes further to claim that it will live side by side with the original 10-inch model. The premise for the rumor stems from code within iOS 5, which is more than can be said of most of the rumors on this list.
May 5 3D iPad
Everyone predicted that 3D was going to be huge in 2011. It wasn't. 3D TVs were a bust, the Nintendo 3Ds had to slash its price to compete, and 3D movies became synonymous with garbage. Still, the 3D display technology rumored for the iPad 3 could succeed where others have failed. By leveraging head-tracking camera software and the existing gyroscope sensor, iPad apps and videos could be made to trick your senses into perceiving 3D, with no glasses required.
February 10 Less expensive iPad Mini
The iPad's fiercest competition comes from inexpensive 7-inch tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. Steve Jobs famously called the iPad's 7-inch competitors "dead on arrival," but there's good reason to believe that Apple won't just ignore this growing threat. A 7-inch iPad with a $300 price tag could be just the thing to extinguish the Kindle Fire.