iPad 3 Releasing on March 7: Mystery of the Missing Home Button and Rumors Roundup

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Apple has finally set the date for the grand release of its third generation iPad on March 7, and all Apple fans around the world are now on their toes. But the invitation, sent by the company to media organizations, has given rise to another set of speculations.

The invitation that simply says, We have something you really need to see. And touch, includes an enhanced display that apparently lacks the traditional home button.

Some reports are even suggesting that the word touch in the tagline could also possibly mean Apple ditching the long-standing feature in the iPad for total touch interface.

According to a report in CNET, the option of omitting the home button on the iPad first gained traction when Apple introduced multitouch gestures to developers in iOS 4.3. The company later added it as a feature for users in iOS 5.

One of those multitouch gestures includes a full hand pinch, bringing users back to the iPad's home screen. Same would be the result if users press on the home button.

Rumors about Apple releasing a home button-less iPad were circulating even before the launch of the current iPad 2. Just a couple of months before Apple introduced the iPad 2, a Boy Genius Report story said the next iPad would be the first iOS device to lose the home button for multitouch gestures. The report also added that the change would make its way over to the iPhone as well.

Although that didn't happen last year, rumors are coming fast and furious that Apple's third generation iPad will bring that change this time around.

Phasing Out Home Button Contradicts Rumors of Siri Inclusion in iPad 3

One of the most expected features of the upcoming iPad is the iPhone 4S-exclusive (till now) voice recognition personal assistant Siri. Considering the increasing popularity of Siri, it's being speculated that Apple will incorporate the feature in the iPad 3 as well. But this is in direct contradiction to the rumors about doing away with the home button.

The traditional home button is an essential part of using Siri on the iPhone 4S as users need to hold it down for a moment to activate the voice assistant. If Siri ever gets included in other iOS devices, it would be unusual to get rid of it, CNET reported.

Apple has also kept the multitouch gesture feature optional, in order to keep games and applications that require use of multifinger gestures from being compromised, the report added.

Top iPad 3 Rumors Roundup

Starting from a much improved processor to super-fast docking ports, a whole lot of rumored features had been associated with the upcoming Apple iPad. While some features seem highly unlikely, there are some that Apple can't afford to ignore to integrate in the iPad 3 to maintain its lead in the tablet war.

Better Display: Various reports have suggested the iPad 3 will feature a new, high-resolution Retina Display, clocking in at 2048 x 1536, which is four times the number of pixels of the current iPad 2.

DigiTime report also said the device will have dual-LED light bars to strengthen the brightness of the panels. Rumors were also heard about Apple utilizing IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) flat panels instead of IPS (in-plane switching panels) in its next-generation mobile display products such as the iPad 3.

Superfast Processor: Earlier rumors suggested that the iPad 3 would feature a quad-core A6 processor, making the device faster and more efficient. Reports also said that Apple was in contact with Samsung to manufacture its quad-core A6 processors.

But recently the focus on the faster processor in the iPad 3 shifted from A6 to an A5X system-on-a-chip that was discovered on a leaked purported iPad 3 logic board.

4G LTE Access: The iPad 3 is also highly expected to be compatible with long-term evolution (LTE). Bloomberg recently reported that Apple has been working on making the iPad compatible with LTE. Carriers like Verizon Wireless (VZ) and ATT Inc. (T) are rolling out LTE networks to give users faster access to data, the report added.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also said earlier that the first generation LTE chipsets will compel lots of design compromises with the company's devices.

Improved Camera: Apple hasn't played much with the camera on the iPad. The original iPad featured a nondescript camera while iPad 2 came with a mediocre VGA camera.

Considering that iPad's rival products are increasingly coming with more enhanced cameras, it's time for Apple to empower its tablet with a more enhanced camera. What about an 8 megapixel camera this time? Well, that doesn't seem out of question.

Siri: Siri, the virtual voice-controlled assistant, has become a darling of the iPhone 4S users. Therefore, it's very likely that Apple would love to leverage on Siri's popularity by adding it to the iPad 3.

Same Form Factor: According to many analysts, the iPad 3 will feature the same form factor as the current iPad 2.

Kyle Weins of iFixit, who has a record of rightful predictions on Apple devices, recently shared his predictions on what the next iPad would look like with CIO.com.

Weins said Apple's next generation iPad will feature basically the same form factor but with double the screen resolution. A Retina display, or four times the pixels, would be the goal.

Well, rumors apart, one thing is certain that the coming Wednesday would take the wraps off all the doubts and confusions related to the device.

Hold your breath till Apple unveils the iPad 3 in an event due to begin at 10 a.m., Pacific Time (1 p.m. ET), at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco.

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