Apple is prepping an iPad 3 launch March 7, may be testing a smaller screen size and plans on packing a 4G wallop.
Add it up and the rumor mill seems to be kicking into overdrive and the main highlights go like this:
- Lower screen sizes are possible as Apple aims to enter the lower end and defend against the Amazon Kindle Fire, says the Wall Street Journal.
- The iPad 3 refresh could include a quad-core chip based on the latest rumors via iMore.
- And Verizon and AT&T may be selling 4G versions of the iPad, the Journal reports again.
The bottom line here is that even if half these reports pan out Apple is likely to see a significant refresh cycle for the iPad. Apple could also include Siri voice recognition in the iPad.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note:
We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon's Kindle Fire and not to mention the myriad of Google Android offerings out there. We are currently modeling 51 million iPad shipments for CY12 and believe this could turn out conservative.
Depending on when the iPad 3 is available, Apple may see a late March quarter pop. If not, the June quarter is likely to have a nice iPad 3 tailwind.