Tuesday, February 14, 2012

iPad 3 launch event March 7, quad-core and LTE support?

We've already reported that Apple will announce the iPad 3 the first week of March (and we guessed March 7, since that would be Wednesday of that week), but while earlier reports said Apple would stick with a dual-core CPU, a new report just surfacing says the A6 CPU will be quad-core, instead.

Weekly Discounts on Mobile Phones!
The dual- vs. quad-core question has been open for some time, with first reports saying that the A6 would be quad-core, but with the latest report from AllThingsD, a source to be reckoned with, saying the new processor would be dual-core only.

The new report says that (as we have expected for a long time), the iPad 3 will sport a 2,048 x 1,536 "retina" display, a quad-core A6 system-on-a-chip (SOC), and --- possibly --- 4G LTE support.

We've wondered about 4G LTE support for some time. It might be rather difficult for something released this early in the year, though. For one, the second generation LTE chipsets have not come out yet. Those will use less power and also take up less real estate.

And that's the second point, as well: less power. LTE is a battery hog and battery life is extremely important to Apple. We'd expect the iPhone 5 to have LTE, coming later in the year, at least the summer, but the iPad 3 is more questionable.

Finally, Sprint's LTE service won't launch until mid-year, at least. While it's possible Apple could build in LTE compatible with Sprint's service prior to that launch, it's not clear that Apple, which prides itself on making sure everything works flawlessly, would do so due to the limited testing it could carry out.

Still, LTE is the coming wave, so it wouldn't surprise us to see Apple release an LTE-based version of the iPad 3.

All signs still point to March 7, even with the new report. However, our inside contact now says that the iPad 3 release (as opposed to the launch) will be April, not March. We're still trying to get confirmation on this. Either way, March or April, the iPad 3 is nearly here, and with that, rumors will likely be flying, near constantly.

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