iPad 3 may launch on March 7 with LTE, smaller 8-inch iPad in the works too

The latest rumors concerning Apple’s upcoming tablet(s) are in, ladies and gentlemen. So let’s dive right in.

First off, the 8-inch (or rather, 7.85-inch) iPad ‘Mini’ has surfaced again. In October last year we first heard that this was being considered by Apple, with the company placing orders for display samples for that size. Then in December it popped up once more, this time in a report claiming it will hit the streets in late 2012.

And it looks like that still might happen. Apple is said to be working with component suppliers in Asia on a new tablet with a screen smaller than that on the now-selling iPads. Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers claim to have seen several screen designs for a device with a screen size of around 8 inches. Apparently, Apple is in the process of choosing suppliers for it.

One person said that the smaller iPad will have a screen resolution identical to that of the iPad 2 (and iPad before it). That of course makes a lot of sense, since Apple doesn’t like to change aspect ratios (in fact it has never done so with its mobile products yet) or screen resolutions too often. And even when there was a bump in screen resolution (in the iPhone 4), the aspect ratio was kept intact. This ensures that apps are readily compatible with the new hardware. And so it would be very plausible for Apple to keep the 1024×600 resolution for the smaller iPad. The decrease in size will mean that the screen will be sharper anyway.

So a smaller iPad may be on its way. Or Apple could decide to can the whole project. Apple is known to test new products and new product designs all the time, and most of those don’t ever make it onto the market. So while the information you just read may be true as of today, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see an iPad Mini in a few months. But it does leave room for the possibility.

Apple surely doesn’t like how the Amazon Kindle Fire, with its 7-inch screen and low price, is cannibalizing iPad sales, and a smaller (and thus cheaper) iPad might be a great tool to slow Amazon’s growth in tablets.

We also have new information regarding the iPad 3, the upcoming successor to the iPad 2 (which will keep the 9.7-inch screen size). We have previously heard that it would be announced (alongside iOS 5.1) in the first week of March, and now we even have a prospective date: March 7.

This date comes from two people that have been quite reliable in the past, and from sources they claim have been reliable too. So we feel like this is just a teeny weeny bit more than a rumor at this point.

There will be a version of the iPad 3 with 4G LTE connectivity baked in alongside Wi-Fi. This will be sold subsidized by both AT&T and Verizon in the States, and presumably by some Canadian carriers as well.

The new iPad’s display will probably have 2048×1536 resolution and will be marketed by Apple as a Retina Display. The processor inside the new tablet will be a quad-core Apple-designed A6 unit. Of course we’ve heard about the display change and the new processor for a very long time now, and this just comes to confirm the details yet again.

March 7 is in less than a month, and that’s when the mystery will be put to rest for good. Until then, all that’s left for you to do is feel the anticipation growing by the day.

Via WSJ here and here, iMore, The Loop

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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    Ipad 3 has not been released yet. Maybe it is thinner and more friendly to use.