Foxconn has started shipping the highly anticipated iPad 3 ahead of Apple's official unveiling of the tablet in March, according to MacRumors, which came across a shipping document on a Chinese Web site.
The document on the Twitter-like Web site Sina Weibo shows details of shipments beginning Sunday from Apple supplier Foxconn to the United States.
A translation of the document by MacRumors indicates that the tablet will ship into three major U.S. airports with maximum cargo security and initial deliveries will begin March 9. MacRumors has also released a picture of the tablet being uploaded onto a plane.
With just weeks left until Apple's anticipated official unveiling of the iPad 3, a Chinese blog claims to have leaked pictures of the next-generation tablet.
The Apple Daily has published unconfirmed pictures of an iPad 3 that looks much like the iPad 2. The pictures show the tapered back of the tablet and parts of its apparent inner mechanisms.
The Chinese blog claims to have discovered an Apple A6 chip, which is the prime rumored processor of the iPad 3. It also says the new iPad will come with 4G connectivity as opposed to 3G found in the iPad 2.
The iPad 3 will come with a 9.7-inch Retina display, like the iPad 2, with a 2048×1536 resolution, according to the blog, which matches popular rumors.
The pictures show a camera, which the blog claims is an 8-megapixel camera to match the iPhone 4S and better the 0.8MP camera of the iPad 2.
If difficult to tell if the photos are legitimate, but all will be unveiled by Apple on March.7. In the meantime here is a roundup of the latest rumors:
The iPad 2 has been heavily criticized for its 1024x768 resolution with owners complaining about unclear fuzzy images. The iPad 3 will undoubtedly come with a better display. It's rumored to quadruple its pixel destiny, but it's most likely to just double that of its predecessor, according to SlashGear.
The DigiTimes, who claim to have received information from Apple's supply chain, say the new display will boast an HD display panel with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels.
The iPad 3 will likely come with a more powerful chip, perhaps the quad-core A6 chip. The first-generation iPad came with an A4 Chip and the iPad 2 followed with an A5 chip, which suggests the iPad 3 will follow suit and run on the A6 chip.
An A6 chip would double the power of the A5 chip that is currently used in the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2. An unnamed source, who claims to have an iPad 3 prototype, sent Boy Genius Report pictures of a diagnostic tool called iBoot, which states a chip model number that appears to be that of the A6 chip.
The iPad 2's camera is another feature of the tablet that has come under strong critique, sporting a feeble 0.8MP. The iPad 3 has a long way to go if it wants to compete with other tablets like the ASUS Transformer Prime, which currently boasts an 8MP, 3264 x2448 pixel, auto-focus, LED flash camera.
The iPad 3 will likely come with a much-improved camera, matching the quality of the 8MP camera of the iPhone 4s or better. The iPhone 4S not only improved its pixel capacity by 60 percent compared with its predecessor, but it also came with a larger custom lens that heralded a 2.4 aperture. More, the camera boasts advanced color accuracy, face detection and reduced motion blur.
While rumors continue to circulate about the possibility of two iPad 3 models -- one cheaper than the other -- it is likely there will only be one, which will fall under the same price range of its predecessor at $499 for its entry level model. The iPad 2 will likely drop to $399 and if Apple continues to sell the original iPad it will probably start at $199.
The iPad still falls among the more expensive tablets in the industry; the Amazon Kindle Fire is priced at $199, while the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet came in at $249.
It's difficult to predict if the iPad 3 will come with Apple's popular voice assistant that debuted in the iPhone 4s, but it seems more likely than not. Siri is undoubtedly the most appreciated feature of iPhone 4s with her ability to understand voice commands, send texts and find local pizza joints. She was the main reason Apple iPhone 4 customers upgraded to the 4s despite there being little difference in the phones design. The implementation of Siri in the iPad 3 could give iPad 2 owners a similar incentive.