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iPad 3 rumors come to life: We rate them here

Update: We originally did this gallery over a week ago. Here's an update with a brand new set of rumors to herald or squash.
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1 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

UPDATE: We originally published this gallery of features that are rumored to be included in Apple's new iPad 3 last week. But how things have changed. Little has been confirmed yet there are more rumors to deal with. We polished up our crystal ball to give you odds on how much of a chance each rumor has to become true.

Even Newer Rumors:

CNET: New iPads, Apple TV boxes to share 'A5' chip

iPad 3 set to launch with 4G LTE

iPad 3: One more thing

Apple's iPad 3 (HD) launch: 6 things to watch

CNET: Next iPad will be the iPad HD, not the iPad 3

Sorry our Magic 8 Ball is recharging and can't keep up with these late comers.

A China-based blog called M.I.C. Gadget claims to have gotten their hands on an iPad 3 and have shot a video of it. Above are screenshots of the alleged iPad 3, which is said to be almost identical to the iPad 2 except with new features such as Siri added. Below is a comparison of the size of the iPad 3 with the iPad 2. They say the iPad 3 is slightly larger.

Do you think this is a real iPad 3?

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2 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Apple has sent out an invitation to the press for an event on March 7 on top of a photo that could only be an iPad. From this photo some people don't believe there will be a home button in the new iPad.

This is one of the more prevalent rumors, and it takes two forms. The first is that the new iPads won't have any Home button at all, taking after the Kindle Fire. The second is that the iPads won't have a physical Home button, but there will still be a touch-sensitive "special place" on the bevel you touch to go home.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Don't count on it". Actually, the Magic 8 Ball gets all tingly about the idea of a touch-sensitive "special place," but that's because it doesn't get out too often. As for the idea of no Home button at all, well, it's probably the most common ding against the Kindle Fire. Windows 8's lack of Start button is ticking off almost all reviewers. And, as we now know, a lack of Home button means all sorts of hacky UI mods, so, sure, there's a good design option. Not.

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3 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

It'll be called the iPad HD

Now this is a fun rumor. Apple generally has some pretty consistent naming conventions, except once in a while they bust a move with something new and interesting, like the MacBook Air.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Cannot predict now". Actually, unless Apple releases an iPad that's got a 16x9 screen, it's unlikely it'll be called the iPad HD. .

Although, if Apple follows its recent naming pattern (iPhone 3G followed by 3GS, iPhone 4 followed by iPhone 4S), the iPad 2 might well be followed by the iPad 2S. Granted the iPhone 4S was a nice bump from the iPhone 4, but it wasn't a 5, dang it!

We don't even know for sure if there will be a new iPad at all, but that certainly won't stop us. It could be an iPad 3, it could be an iPad 2S, who knows?

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Reply hazy, try again". This one's a bit hard to read, but if we were going to bet, we'd bet on iPad 3. Why? Because no one likes the "S" models.

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4 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

The current generation of iPads and iPhones have 4x3 screens, which are, quite frankly, an anachronism. Monitors and TVs of old used to have 4x3 screens, but most current TVs and monitors are now 16x9 widescreen.

So, will the iPad 3 have a 16x9 screen to make letterboxing less prevalent when watching Netflix movies? Well, that depends on whether you watch Netflix movies. After all, with so many TNG and DS9 episodes out there, all in 4x3, who really needs 16x9 (or any other entertainment, for that matter)?

Seriously, there's no doubt Apple will have to transition to 16x9 at some point, but that will break many iPad and iPhone applications (or stretch them bizarrely).

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Reply hazy, try again".

Image: 4:3 ratio is the full screen while 16:9 is the gray section. Credit: Apple

 

That said, if Apple is willing to cause developers problems, and why not add one more. For example...

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5 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

There are two variations to this rumor as well. The first is that the big files required to take full advantage of the retina display could overwhelm 3G application download limits. Oops. And we all know carriers are always <I>so</I> helpful when it comes to being accomodating to app needs (he says ironically).

The second rumor is that scaling current iPad app graphics up to display on the new, much higher resolution retina display could make current apps seem blurry and, well fugly. That depends on the image scaling technology used in the device, but scaling graphics is a pretty old technology and probably won't be too problematic.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "My sources say no." In other words, don't worry about it. Most apps will work, some will break. So it has been with new hardware introductions, so it will always be.

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6 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

This is a more explicitly formed version of the "much faster networking" rumor we played with earlier. It's possible that there will be some 4G/LTE networking, in particular because of the larger apps, but we'd expect this feature to be the crowning achievement of the next iPhone, not a side-option for the iPad.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Very doubtful."

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7 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Update: 7.85-inch iPad due in Q3

Here's another funny variant. Rumors tend to mate with other rumors, and produce little rumor offspring. In this case, the "there will be three iPad models" rumor and the "there will be a 7- or 8-inch iPad rumor" have mated, to become the "there will be a 7.85-inch iPad due in Q3".

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "My reply is no". It's important to read the Magic 8 Ball very carefully. While the Magic 8 Ball didn't think there would be a 7- or 8-inch iPad, it definitely doesn't think it'll come out in Q3. Q3 is iPhone time.

Original rumor: There might be a 7-inch or 8-inch screen. Given that the Kindle Fire has clarified the mid-screen market size, many of us think it only makes sense that Apple introduce a smaller-size model. Will they or won't they? I'm guessing no, but we'll find out soon.

If they do, there's a new high bar. As ZDNet's Matthew Miller says,Forget Kindle Fire. PlayBook is now the best low-cost tablet. The Blackberry PlayBook 2.0 update takes a good 7-inch tablet and makes it excellent.

I know, BlackBerry. That's tough to believe all on its own.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "My sources say no". We haven't heard a single rumor about a smaller case or shell.

Image: This images show an iPad 2 at 9.5-inches diagonal (left). The middle one is approximately 8-inches and the one on the right is approximately 7-inches.

Credit: Apple

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8 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

This rumor has it that there will be pricier models, $579 for 16GB, $699 16GB with 3G, and $779 with 64GB, $899 with 64GB and 3G.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Don't count on it". Apple rarely raises prices on its model bumps. Then again, there's this rumor...

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9 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Update: The rumor mills are just dying to see a cheap iPad to compete at the lower end. Given that bottom-end 16GB iPad 2's are now going for $429 from many resellers, and you can buy refurbished iPads straight from Apple for as low as $299, it's possible we'll see a lower-priced iPad 2 model (especially since the current iPad display is a known commodity, when it comes to supply chain issues).

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Signs point to yes". You'll probably be able to get a cheaper iPad, but whether there's a storage reduction or not is anyone's guess.

In light of both the Kindle Fire and BlackBerry Playbook 2.0, there are some rumors that there might be a lower-cost unit. Given that Apple is now minting money faster than the mints, we have our doubts they want to play in the Kindle Fire ghetto. But Apple has been known to play their iPods to every niche, so there is a possibility. We've seen reports of up to three models, with one starting at about $299.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Very doubtful". Apple isn't feeling any competitive pressure from the low end, and if you want a cheap iOS device, buy an old iPad or iPhone.

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10 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

The other side of the storage equation is the 128GB variation. After all, if you can now store and display full 1080i or 1080p movies, and you can display photos at super-high resolution, shouldn't you require more storage?

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "As I see it, yes." This all depends on whether the supply chain can put out, but Apple likes printing money and there are definitely iPad customers who would tip for the full Monty.

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11 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

We're also hearing rumors that Apple might be changing up the docking port, to something smaller and less compatible. The premise is that this would clear up some internal space, but it also means customers would have to buy all new accessories. Many of us have been handing down chargers, power dongles, and the like for four years now, and we should definitely be punished for our loyalty.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Concentrate and ask again". This one's tough to predict. If Apple were a normal company, we'd expect them to reduce the port size to make room for more connections. But Apple isn't normal by any stretch of the imagination. So, they might shrink the port to make more internal room (even that tiny bit of extra space for battery could give you another few minutes of run time), or because, well, being the world's largest company isn't good enough.

Image: This shows Apple's patent drawing of a docking station for an iPad. It was granted in May 2011.

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12 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

No matter how much you want one of these sexy, new-fangled iPad 3s, you won't be able to get them. That's the rumor going around because manufacturing retina displays of the size of the iPad -- and doing so in mass volume -- hasn't been tried and proven.

 

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "It is certain." Yes, definitely, there will be shortages of the iPad 3. Have we mentioned Apple fans is craaaazy? But will those shortages be because retina displays can't be made fast enough or because the fanbois have saved up their arcade money and stripper tips for the next iPad, well, that's a little tougher to predict.

Image: China went crazy over the iPhone 4S. Maybe, we'll see lines like this again.

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13 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

More rumors from the previous version of this gallery: The iPad 2 camera is terrible. This needs to be upgraded. The inside skinny is that there will be an 8 megapixel camera or even 1080p video.

I'm guessing we'll see some improvement, but will we see a camera the quality of the iPhone 4S? It'd be nice, wouldn't it?

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Signs point to yes".

Image: This is an example of an 8-megapixel photo taken by an iPhone 4S. Credit: Apple

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14 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Almost all the rumor mongers are claiming we're going to see a retina display. This one is almost a given. Everyone in the rumor milling business seems to think there will be a retina display, so maybe there will be a retina display.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Without a doubt".

Image: An alleged OEM LCD screen display for Apple iPad 3. Credit: Truesupplier

Lower image: Twitter images indicate possibly 1536x2048 resolution for iPad 3. Credit: macrumors.com

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15 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

There are a bunch of form-factor rumors. Some say the case is a millimeter or so thicker. Some say the bevel is smaller. Some say there's a bit of a swoop in the case design (this could simply be a rehash of the iPhone 5 rumors).

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Better not tell you now". It would be a shame if Apple changed the form-factor with all the nice add-ons that support the current design, but Apple's screwed its aftermarket before, many times.

Image: Venture Beat reports that the iPad 3 will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2.

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16 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

This could go hand-in-hand with the thicker case. A slightly thicker case, combined with some better battery technology, could yield a longer run-time.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Outlook good". One area where Apple constantly works on improving is battery life.

Image: After several hours of use, Apple wants the battery life indicator to stay "green" rather than its usual "red" color.

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17 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

If the iPad is to properly support Siri and some of the advanced camera functions, it needs more processing power. I'd also like to see it have more RAM, but I have even greater doubts about that. Of course, the more processing power there is, the bigger the impact on battery power. Physics is like that.

Image: This photo shows an alleged iPad 3 mainboard with an A5 processor. Image credit: WeiPhone.com

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "It is decidedly so". Probably dual-core. Probably not quad-core.

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18 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

If you read the Web with care, you'll notice that a few of the punditocracy are claiming the new iPad will have Siri. This depends on two key factors: the processor power in the device and how robust Apple's network is. I'm reasonably sure the processor in the new device will be able to handle the load, but their network might not.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Signs point to yes".

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19 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

We know Apple's working on iOS 5.1 and there are some rumors that this will add some sort of camera icon on the lock screen and even Japanese support for Siri. If there is Japanese support for Siri, that would mean that Apple thinks it can handle the infrastructure requirements for Siri request processing. Interesting.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "As I see it, yes".

Image: Developer preview for iOS 5.1. Here are 5 iOS 5 secrets.

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20 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Just because there are never enough ways to spend money, we have some rumors that the iPad 3 will contain a near field communications chip.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Very doubtful". This might make sense for a phone, but it's pretty impractical to swipe an iPad against a gas pump.

Image: Here's an example of an NFC chip from Samsung.

Credit: Samsung

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21 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

This incredibly silly rumor (propagated by one of our own bloggers here on ZDNet) contends that you'll be able to choose your operating system. Because Apple's always been so flexible about what you're allowed to run.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Don't count on it". Or, to put it another way, absolutely, positively no way, Jose.

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22 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

This rumor is a twisted twist on the Windows 8 tablet announcement for ARM. Basically, the Windows 8 tablets for the ARM architecture are apparently going to include a copy of Microsoft Office for ARM.

Now, as it turns out, you can run Windows on an iPad (for $5 a month), using a service calledOnLive Desktop Pro, that will run a virtual session remotely. The same company offers a free version that has a virtual connection to Microsoft Office.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "My reply is no". Actually, the answer is "no" if you want to know if it'll be from Apple. But it's pretty clear the service is available from OnLive.

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23 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

We've been hearing reports about the Apple TV vanishing from store shelves. Given that the little black hockey puck has been quite popular at $99, the rumorazzi are starting to make noises that Apple will be bringing out a new Apple TV, maybe even a TV with an Apple logo on it.

The Magic 8 Ball: The Magic 8 Ball reads, "Concentrate and ask again". Yeah, absolutely no idea. Other than the reduction in stock, there's been no other news.

Credit: Apple

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24 of 24 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Could this be a comparison of cameras? The circle in the iPad 2 is smaller than that of the iPad 3.

Credit: VentureBeat

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