At a time when the impending untethered jailbreak for A5-powered devices (iPhone 4S and iPad2) is creating much buzz around the tech world, speculation on the features of Apple's next generation iPad - aka iPad 3 - are also keeping the enthusiastic minds of Apple fans busy.
Taking the fever-pitch even higher, a Bloomberg report hit the web last week, suggesting the production of the iPad 3 has already started with factories running 24 hours a day in China and the tablet was likely to go on sale in March.
The report cited three people familiar with the product and said the iPad 3 would come with three key features, designed to serve as the product's Unique Selling Points (USP) - a high-definition screen, a faster processor and next-generation wireless networks.
While some analysts have suggested the third generation iPad could be similar to the current iPad 2, as in the case of the iPhone 4S that looks identical to the iPhone 4, many others have said the device will incorporate many significant improvements, both internal and external.
Check out a brief on some of the talked-about features the forthcoming iPad 3 cannot afford to slip up on...
A Stunning Display
The current iPad 2 has only one LED bar; the next model is expected to sport two. The point is that the second bar provides an enhanced level of brightness. In addition, rumors are rife the iPad 3 will feature a 9.7-inch high-definition screen of QXGA quality (Quantum Extended Graphics Array) - 1,536 x 2,048 pixels with 270 pixels per inch - instead of the previously-rumored 7.85-inch screens.
According to an unnamed source, the iPad 3 will have small pixels that will make the images look like printed material Bloomberg reported. Videos will play almost instantly because of the additional graphics processing the report added.
Sources revealed to Bloomberg that Apple has been working on making the iPad compatible with a wireless standard called Long-Term Evolution (LTE). Carriers such as Verizon Wireless (VZ) and ATT Inc. (T) are rolling out LTE networks to give users faster access to data.
While rivals like Samsung, Motorola and Nokia have already introduced smartphones capable of working on the faster network, Apple will reportedly bring LTE to the iPad prior to the iPhone because the forthcoming tablet will also incorporate a bigger battery and hence be better built to support power requirements of the LTE network.
A Powerful Processor
The third point - a more powerful processor - is an important one. There are several rival products and brands that have devices with considerably more powerful chips. An enhanced Apple processor, therefore, is almost certain to roll out with the iPad 3. Moreover, the rumors surrounding the possibility of a powerful processor also emanate from other likely features - to sport a gorgeous display and to support next-generation wireless networks, the iPad 3 does need a stronger processor onboard.
A majority of the observers say the new processor could be labeled A6. However, there are different opinions on whether it will be a quad-core or a dual-core. Given the current popularity of quad-core processors in mobile devices, the chances of a dual-core iPad 3 are very slim.
According to rumors, Apple continues to award contracts, to manufacture the A6 processor, to rivals Samsung. These are likely to be used in the iPad 3.
An Enhanced Battery
With each new iPad release, Apple seems to extend the battery life. Expectations, therefore, for an enhanced battery are apparent. The question, though, is how much more enhanced will it be?
A Digitimes' report cited sources at Apple's supply chain partners as saying the new iPad was expected to have a battery the capacity of which could be as high as 14,000 milliampere-hour (mAh). The report even stated that Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology have secured contracts to produce those batteries. In addition, there are other pieces of speculation, on PCWorld, for example, which suggest the iPad 3 could be capable of cable-less charging.
Apple's most recent device - the iPhone 4S - comes with an 8 megapixel camera. It would therefore seem that expecting a new iPad with anything less than that specification is out of the question.
According to growing speculation, however, the iPad 3's camera will not be greater than 8 megapixels. It will, however, also have a 5 megapixel front-facing camera, for videoconferencing. The tablet is also expected to be able to capture HD video in 1080p.
The iPhone 5?
With the iPad 3 on the horizon, questions concerning the possibility of gleaming shreds of information regarding the iPhone 5 are on everybody's minds.
The report suggested that if the Cupertino tech giant wanted to create an ecosphere of its products for its customers, the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 needed to be kept apart so that users see a value in owning both.
While the shared iOS will undoubtedly continue to make the user interface between the two devices the same, form factor and size could most definitely change between the two this year, said the report.
Suggesting that the new iPhone will be a mobile life hub that brings together all of the facets of a user's life, the report also mentioned the device could feature Near field Communication (NFC) technology, a faster processor, access to an LTE network and, of course, a better battery.