In three separate leaks over the weekend, Apple insiders have confirmed rumors related to the iPad 3's specs in anticipation of its March 2012 release date.
Rumors about the features in Apple's new tablet, expected to launch March 7, have been swirling for months, and these leaks have pushed excitement over the iPad 3 to a fever pitch.
Here's a rundown of the rumors the recent leaks have confirmed by insiders so far. Remember that Apple itself has yet to confirm or deny any of these claims.
Better Camera, Longer Battery Life
The first leak came from Chinese blog Apple Daily. A recent photo showed side-by-side comparisons of iPad shells from the iPad to the iPad 2 to the (purported) iPad 3.
This third model had a noticeably larger rear-facing camera, which Apple Daily writers assert is to make room for the 8 MP model the new tablet will boast.
The blog also asserted that the case's design features a noticeably beveled edge, according to Digital Trends, which may be part of an effort to squeeze in a larger battery. Since the iPad 2 currently boasts a ten-hour battery life, expect the iPad 3 to last much longer.
Dual-Core A5X Processor
The second leaked photo appeared on Chinese site WeiPhone, and seems to indicate that the iPad 3 will sport a dual-core A5X processor. This comes as a surprise to those predicting a quad-core A6 chip for Apple's new tablet.
The dual-core A5X, while obviously not as good as a quad-core A6 processor, is still an upgrade from the dual-core A5 processor that comes with an iPad 2.
According to MacRumors, however, this recent photo may be more of a red herring than a true leak. Apple is known to create multiple prototypes before finalizing its specs, and since the A5X processor was reportedly created in November 2011, it could be serving as a stand-in prototype until an A6 processor is perfected.
Another, more paranoid possibility, also broached by MacRumors, is that Apple has disguised the A6 as an A5X, complete with serial numbers, in order to prevent a leak like the one this weekend.
Whether the iPad 3 comes with a dual-core A5X or a quad-core A6 processor, however, one thing is certain: Apple's newest tablet will be much faster, better able to multitask, and quicker to respond than the iPad 2 has been.
Higher Resolution Retina Display
The final leak, by Chinese blog App.wepost.me, offered a glimpse at iPad 3 displays packaged and set to be shipped.
The blog confirmed that the iPad 3 would have a 9.7-inch, high-resolution 2048 x 1536 Retina Display, as well as a dual-LED lit system to make the screen brighter but save battery life, rumors that have been floated for months now.
Thicker Casing, Possible 4G LTE Technology
The WeiPhone leaked photo also seemed to suggest that the iPad 3 is noticeably thicker than the iPad 2, despite rumors claiming the difference will only be by about one to two millimeters.
Apple was likely forced to make its newest tablet thicker in order to accommodate all of the iPad 3's new hardware, including the alleged 8 MP camera and higher resolution Retina Display.
Another reason for the product's thickness, however, may be the inclusion of 4G LTE, which recent rumors indicate may be planned for both the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5.
According to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, it's very likely that Apple's newest iOS devices will feature LTE technology, since both Verizon Wireless and At&T, the top two carriers in the U.S., both boast 4G LTE on their phones.
We are frankly not surprised as this is consistent with our supply chain checks in mid-January. As we had commented then, we believe the upcoming iPad refresh could be significant with notable new features including a 4G LTE wireless, beefed-up processor, higher resolution screen, and Siri voice recognition, Wu said.
Wu's report speculated that the iPad 3 may start with 3G tech, which doesn't feature LTE technology, until the end of 2013, by which time as much as 80 percent of Americans are expected to have LTE phones.