January 16, 2012, 8:55 AM — I generally don't spend a lot of time covering Apple product rumors these days just because, for any Apple product line, next version rumors seem to crop up about five minutes after a product ships. According to 'inside sources' we should all have been using iPhone 5s and iPad 3s for about six months now.
But if two iterations can form a pattern, then Apple has shown a pattern of launching iPads in the spring, and I think it's safe to assume some kind of new iPad will launch this spring as well. So when Bloomberg published its iPad rumors last Friday, I paid a bit more attention than I usually do.
Bloomberg says the new iPad will ship in March, and I'll add to that my guess that it'll be late March; that seems to fit the pattern. It'll have a faster processor (a quad core), says Bloomberg, and that's hardly a stretch, is it? With so many Android tablets starting to move to quad-core chips it'd be odd for Apple to sit still on the processor front.
What's most interesting is Bloomberg's report of a very high resolution display. They don't specify numbers but say:
The new display is capable of greater resolution than the current iPad, with more pixels on its screen than some high- definition televisions, the person said. The pixels are small enough to make the images look like printed material, according to the person.
Other sources, such as 9to5Mac, do put a number on the new display: they say its a 2048-by-1536 display manufactured by Sharp.
Neither Bloomberg nor 9to5Mac talk about size, so (assuming we're buying into all this) we're probably talking about another 10" tablet. I think if Apple wants to get serious about iBooks they ought to offer a 7" model. Having spent the last few years jumping between reading ebooks on 10" and 7" devices I have to say that, purely for e-reading, 7" is a more comfortable size, particularly if you read in bed. That said, we haven't heard all that much about iBooks from Apple recently; perhaps they've decided that's not part of their core business.
I get that one of the strengths of the iPad when it comes to consumers is actually the lack of choices — it's dead simple to buy an iPad compared to buying a competing product — but the iPad is well-entrenched enough now that I don't think offering two screen sizes would confuse the market all that much and a 7" iPad would compete directly with the Kindle Fire. That'd be a good weapon in Apple's arsenal, considering that (so far) the Kindle Fire is the only tablet to pose even a remote threat to the dominance of the iPad.
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