Last minute iPad 3 predictions

Last minute iPad 3 predictions

Summary: What would you like to see in the iPad 3?


OK, with the official iPad 3 announcement only days away (March 7, in case you've been living under a rock for the past few hours), a number of you have been asking me what I think Apple's next-generation tablet will bring.

Time for some last-minute predictions. Here we go!

Form factor

While I expect that the case will change somewhat, I think that we're going to see a subtle, evolutionary change rather than a big, revolutionary shift in design. I don't think that Apple is going to experiment with weird teardrop designs, and I don't think that the iPad 3 will be fatter than the iPad 2 or that it will weigh more.

Apple has strived for ‘thinner and lighter' and that's exactly what I think the new iPad will be.


All along, I've been against the idea of the iPad 3 having a retina display. Not only would the display be a huge power hog, but also the extra pixels would need considerably beefier hardware, which in turn would require a beefier battery.

However, looking at the rumors as a whole, and combining that with the image that Apple sent out with press invites for the iPad 3 launch, I'm not of the opinion that the iPad 3 will now feature a higher-pixel density retina display panel.

Image credit: Apple

I still have many questions about the implementation of this display. For example, how will it handle video given that a 1080 HD playback would run windowed with a lot of free space around it? And standard definition video would be even worse.


I'm not sold on this rumor of the iPad 3 having the A5X processor or that there will be two flavors with two processors. I still think that the most likely outcome is that an A6 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) will power the iPad 3 and that this will be a quad-core part.

I can't imagine Apple releasing two flavors of the iPad 3 (one with an A6 processor and another with a slower A5X) because that would create customer confusion (something that Apple tries to avoid).

iOS 5.1

I think that while the iPad 3's hardware update will be relatively impressive, what I think will be more impressive is what Apple does with this hardware in iOS 5.1.


As I said the other day, Siri on the iPad 3 is a certainty. It's been the killer feature of the iPhone 4S and there's no reason whatsoever Apple couldn't bring it to the iPad 3. After all, millions of iPhone 4S can't be wrong.


A front-facing HD camera is a certainty.

Home button

That image sent out in the press invite seems to suggest that the hardware Home button is gone, replaced by ... well, we don't know what yet. If it's actually gone (and it's not just Apple messing with us!) then that's one less hardware component inside the iPad 3, which means more space for other cool stuff (or a bigger battery).


Expect the iPad 3 battery life to be 10 hours, but keep an eye on the small print in case there are changes (like the iPhone 4S has a whopping 100 hours less standby time than the iPhone 4 did for some reason).


I don't think that the iPad 3 will feature LTE simple because there just isn't enough support from the carriers yet. It would also put a lot of strain on the battery (although not as much an on the iPhone given that the iPad has a much differ battery and there's more wriggle room inside the device to add an even bigger battery if need be.


No, no NFC. No point.

Revamped dock connector


What would you like to see in the iPad 3?


Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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  • Last minute iPad 3 predictions

    More predictions? I believe you and every other ZDNet blogger have already done this twice this week.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Editor's choice?

      That's pants.
      • He works for ZDNet

        Search around the web, he's been outed on multiple sites as a shill.
      • I doubt he works for ZDNet

        Though it would be logical to assume that you work for a competitor of Microsoft, given how your posts are crafted.
        Tim Cook
  • Missing Home Button

    You sure they just don't have it turned upside down? :p

    Also it's not really last minute if you have a full week left before the event.
    • Landscape mode

  • Retina Display

    Adrian, I agree with you about the Retina Display. I just can't imagine why a 10inch mobile device would need such a high-res screen.. higher then my 24inch monitor! Maybe Apple will surprise us with a killer app that requires such resolution, but I doubt it.
    • Higher resolution makes text look better!

      You can always map multiple adjacent pixels on the screen to one point in the 1920x1080 video content. Because the aspect ratio is 4:3 to begin with, aren't consumers already in agreement with the black borders especially when this is SJ's brilliant idea!

      Regardless of the effect for video, for text, the higher resolution makes the edges of any text character smoother.
  • No one has written about retail price details yet.

    I predict that there will be 128 GB iPad 3 models that will priced at the same level as their 64 GB iPad 2 counterparts were.
  • About 1mm thicker.

    You are right, more battery power will be needed..and that's why the cases have been 1mm thicker.
    • You forget about the new "Gorilla Glass" technology

      The new Gorilla Glass tech allows a 20 percent reduction in glass thinkness for the same level of strength than the gen 1 version of Gorilla Glass was able to deliver.

      Looking at rumored released photos of the iPad 3 compared to the iPad 2 models, I noticed a visible reduction of the display screen thickness compared to the current display used in the iPad 2.

      By increasing the thickness of the iPad aluminum case housing and reducing the thickness of the display screen, more than an internal case volume increase could be obtained than the 0.81 mm case housing width increase would suggest.

      I only wonder if the reduction in the display screen thickness will offset the weight increase of a rumored increase in internal battery volume?

      If not, than expect the iPad 3 to be slightly heavier than the iPad 2 model but less heavy than the iPad 1.
  • Wanted But Not Expected

    Okay, so there are some interesting things that get added with each new iOS update, but here are two that I'd like to see accompany the iPad 3. I'd LIKE them, but am not really EXPECTING them.

    1. User Accounts - Can you remember a time before you could switch user accounts on a personal computer? I'm having a hard time remembering that myself. If tablets are really to fully replace PCs (desktop OR laptop), then this seems like a no brainer. However, the cynic in me just assumes this feature has always been technically feasible but intentionally withheld because it could potentially result in less sales if each iPad could have multiple users with their own accounts. And by multiple users, I mean the experience would be similar to the PC's - allowing for personalized wallpapers, only showing that user's specific Apps, retaining personalized settings/preferences, etc. I'm looking forward to the day when I can hand my iPad to my young daughter and, after her own log-in, have it be unique to her requirements - and then be able to log into my own account and return to my own preferences once I get it back (IF I get it back. Most parents are nodding their heads).

    2. Live Icons - I can remember a time before the Mac's Calendar icon in the dock actually updated itself to show the actual day and date. I remember seeing a lot of people ask (on forums such as these) why Apple didn't automatically do that - and I remember Apple's response in that it wasn't a big expected need when they first developed OS X. But, eventually, they updated it. The same process occurred with iOS - and this made users wonder what other App icons could be "live". For instance, imagine the Weather app with a real 'at-a-glance' temp reading on the icon itself. Imagine the Photos App icon as a mini-frame (Yes, I know it would be incredibly small) that cycled through your stored images. What if the Clock App's analog clock actually showed the correct time? In some instances, such as the Weather icon, there might need to be a short data retrieval burst for external information - but the timing of those retrievals could be set by the user - just as with any other setting (such as Notifications that involve external data). This might be considered as just more sheer personalization rather than utility, but some other iOS "features" tread that line, as well.

    I'd guess these features are possible through Android, but I haven't seen them as a standard part of any version. I would also guess that Windows 8 Tablets would have user accounts and the Live Tile feature seemed to be their differentiator in the market.

    Still, I hope our friends in Cupertino eventually consider these.
  • My smart comments. :)

    The iPad in the picture is clearly in landscape mode so that's why you don't see a home button. Have you ever used an iPad in the dark? You need to have that feel. Maybe if they have a virtual home button that shows up on either side when it detects that you're looking for it, but nahh. Nobody has mentioned the possibility of the iPad 2 staying in the lineup of products at $250 (like the 3Gs). There's 2 reasons for this, first Apple wants to dominate in the schools with the textbooks and America is not ready for $500 a pop when there is a possibility of breaking the thing or stealing it. The other is to compete with tiny tablets in price but still give you a 10 inch form factor. That would be a killer of the 8 inch market. Imagine that: everyone is waiting for Apple to release an 8 inch iPad to compete with the Fire but Apple lowers the price of the iPad 2 to compete.
    • Think it's in portrait mode

      I don't think it's in landscape. If you look at the wallpaper, the 6 big bubbles (2 rows of 3) arcing away from the top right corner of the date icon are only there in portrait mode. I looked for them on my iPad. Turn to landscape and they are gone. That said, they are closer to the right side of the screen, so the home button could just be slightly out of the picture to the left.
  • No Home Button?

    Maybe it was being held in landscape??