iPad 3 Release Date Rumors Include Apple iPad Mini for 2012

We all know that Apple will unveil the iPad 3 at an event in San Francisco on March 7. We even know about its release date, features, specs, price and more thanks to the Internet - well speculation at least, as Apple has not confirmed rumors nor the name of the newest tablet. But the latest rumor surrounding the next generation iPad is that the iPad Mini is being manufactured, as well.

According to a report on Thursday from DigiTimes, the Apple iPad Mini is currently being manufactured in Asia with a full production slated for the third quarter of 2012. The report also mentions that final samples are being sent to Apple for approval.

It wouldn't be a stretch for Apple to also unveil the iPad Mini with the iPad 3, as the company will reportedly release a new Apple TV alongside the tablet.

DigiTimes also said the iPad Mini will have a 7.85-inch display and will be priced between $249 and $299, in order to compete in terms of size and price with Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet, though Apple CEO Tim Cook believes these smaller tablet computers and e-reader pose no threat to the iPad.

I think people really want to do multiple things with their tablets, Cook said. We don't really see these limited function tablets and e-readers being in same category. In terms of competitiveness, the ecosystem for iPad is in a class by itself.

And the iPad 3 appears as though it will certainly be in a class of its own.

On Tuesday, Cupertino, Calif. Apple sent out an invitation for the media to join an event in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif. for its latest device.

We have something you really have to see. And touch, the invitation read.

iPad 3 will be slightly thicker, according to reports, at 1 mm thicker than the iPad 2 to accommodate its other updates. iLab Factory leaked photos on Monday showing the iPad 3's exterior shell, proving it will be thicker.

The iPad 3 is rumored to have an improved camera, a bigger battery, and a dual-LED backlit system to power an 2048 x 1536 true HD display with a brighter screen thanks to the dual-LED. Word on the street is that the iPad 3 will be faster with either a dual-core A5X chip or a quad-core A6 chip and be the first Apple device to run on the high-speed LTE network, according to the Wall Street Journal. DigiTimes said the battery capacity will be upgraded as well, increased to 14,000mAH from 6,500mAH.

In addition, the camera will be overhauled, with upgrades for autofocus, video stabilization and full 1080p HD video recording. Siri may also be a component of the iPad 3, similar to the iPhone 4S.

While no one is even sure what specs and features the iPad 3 will have some say it will cost up to $80 more than the iPad 2. MacRumors posted information from Chinese microblogging Web site Sina Weibo that the prices for iPad 3 would be as follows:

16GB+WiFi: $579

32GB+WiFi: $679

64GB+WiFi: $779

16GB+WiFi+3G: $699

32GB+WiFi+3G: $799

64GB+WiFi+3G: $899

Already, electronics retailers like Best Buy have  already dropped the price of the iPad 2 by $50 for the upcoming unveiling of the iPad 3 on March 7.

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