The iPad 3 is scheduled to arrive in October, making it one of Apple's most anticipated products of the year, alongside iPhone 5. The possible early release could be good news for Apple fans. For rivals and challengers in the tablet market, the iPhone 5 launch could put huge dents into sales.

The release date has been among a mixed bag of rumors involving iPad 3 as some reports ranged from September to mid 2012. According to DigiTimes, it was reported that the third generation iPad will make a debut in September, and then hit stores by October.

As the iPad 3 begins going into production, news have emerged about the device specs and design. Some impressive components such as n A6 Quad core processor and enhanced retina display which boasts a 2048 x 1536 HD resolution is sure to boost performance.

Apple is considering designing an even thinner and lighter tablet PC with its panel resolution increasing to 250dpi, noted the report.

Another report from Techunwrapped also supported that an iOS image leak hinted a larger resolution display.

As I was going through the iOS SDK I came across some images in the new Twitter .framework. The resolution appears to be 1,536 x 2,048.

A high resolution display would be well integrated into an AMOLED super display screen that Samsung has popularized with their Galaxy smartphone series. It is unfortunate that with the current legal battles between the two tech giants, it may seem unlikely the AMOLED technology can work out for iPad 3.

Other features that the iPad 3 may offer include NFC technology, the speedy Thunderbolt I/O, and an 8 megapixel front and rear camera. The design element will most likely be slimmer and lighter weight than past tablet devices. The iPad 3 will either make use of materials such as carbon fiber plastics for the casing or go with an aluminum metal backing that will look consistent with the iPhone 5.

Customers will be lined up, awaiting their opportunity to own the latest Apple tablet. Apple's competitors know this and are cautiously keeping track of the rumored iPad release date in October. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 along with a slew of other tablets on the market could expect some decline in sales once the iPad 3 hits stores as seen in past years. Apple iPads have continued to dominate the tablet scene as it raked in 80% of sold tablets in 2011's first quarter.

Samsung will try to reverse that trend as its Galaxy Tab 10.1 plans to give the iPad 3 some competition. The Korean based company produced an ultra thin tablet that weighs less than the iPad 2. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 continues to beat the iPad 2 in a number of other areas including screen size, resolution, camera megapixels and thinner frame. The device packs in impressive hardware specs that are powered with Android's 3.0 Honeycomb OS. But with iPad 3 running with an A6 Quad Core Processor, the Galaxy Tab 10.1's 1 GHz dual core NVIDEIA Tegra 2 won't be able to stand up to the next generation's speed, even with 1 GB or RAM. One impressive accomplishment Samsung succeeded in was fitting everything within a 0.33 inch thick frame weighing just 1.31 pounds. The iPad 3 will be expected to match or one up the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in this area. If iPad 3 rumors are true, Samsung may need to look to a next generation tablet in order to compete with Apple's third generation device.

The HP TouchPad and Motorola Xoom may also be considered as contenders, though they pose more of a challenge to the iPad 2 rather than iPad 3. The HP Touchpad and iPad 2 comparison in screensize and physical dimensions fare very similar numbers. Only the Motorola Xoom holds the upper hand in this aspect with a 10.1 inch screen and 1280 x 800 resolution. In terms of hardware speed, the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and iPad 2 all run on 1GHz dual core processors except for the HP Touchpad, which sports a 1.2 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon.

Apple's iPad 3 release later this year could put a scare into the market's current top end tablets. With expectations of slimmer body and beefed up specs, the iPad 3 is sure to exceed the iPad 2 in performance. Current competitors have been able to touch the iPad 2, but the Apple's third generation tablet may be far from their reach as it creeps closer to the foreboding launch date.

Must Read: Apple iPad versus HP TouchPad: Will the WebOS tablet end iPad dream run?