iPad 3: Debuting with Retina Display and (Hold Your Breath) iOS 6?

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Apple is quite certain to equip the next generation iPad (dubbed iPad 3) with Retina Display (2048x1536 pixels resolution). The leaked images of iPad 3 screen, tested under microscope, in February 2012, suggested the resolution is about to double in the new tablet. But not only a higher display resolution, iPad 3 may also be unveiled with next generation iOS a.k.a. iOS 6, if a report by Ars Technica is to be believed.

Ars said it came across a surprising finding while it was digging through its Web logs in preparation for its monthly browser stat report. Google analytics showed that 365 visits were made by a device with 2048x1536 screen resolution or the same resolution which iPad 3 is expected to boast of.

“Although a screen resolution by itself isn't much to go on, a quick search around the Web indicates that there are very few devices in current use that have this same resolution. (There is a $5,000 NEC display for medical use with that resolution),” Ars said.

What Ars found after digging deeper was more surprising. The site said it discovered that people using Apple’s corporate IP block in Cupertino were surfing the Web using iPads, which are running on iOS 6.0.

This is totally surprising because nobody has ever expected iPad 3 to run on iOS 6. All the techies thought that, at best, iPad 3 will run on iOS 5.1 (currently available only to developers) with some tweaks and improvements. The Web logs also showed other iPads running on iOS 5.0.1 and iOS 5.1.

“The iPads that appear to be running iOS 6 are also using a slightly newer build of WebKit—the older OSes all show WebKit 534.46, while the ones claiming to be iOS 6 show WebKit build 535.8,” Ars said.

However, CNET said it could not arrive at a similar conclusion after going through its own server logs. “We went through a handful of our own server logs and did not find any traces of user agent strings that matched up with Ars' findings,” CNET reported (it is possible that some Apple employees like to read Ars more than CNET or they have begun covering up their tracks after Ars spilled the beans).

Now, it is possible that Apple could be testing different versions of iOS on the upcoming iPad. iOS 6 is something that was left out of speculations, but Apple always surprises its fans. Unannounced, Apple OSes being spotted online is now common. Even OS X Mountain Lion was spotted four months before its release and OS X Lion was detected in 2009 on Web servers, long before it debuted in Oct. 2010.

However, the idea of iPad 3 debuting with iOS 6 could be a bit far-fetched. In all probability, iPad 3 will hit the streets, with iOS 5.1, but it is possible that Apple could give us a sneak peek of what iOS 6 is going to be. iPad 3 debuting with iOS 6? Not really. But iPhone 5 debuting with iOS 6 could be a possibility.

What do you think? Will iOS 6 come to see the light of the day by piggybacking iPad 3 or iPhone 5? We’ll have to wait till Wednesday for that answer.

(Reported by Johnny Wills, Edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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