For the fun of it, here is my “iPad 3″ rumor analysis. Enjoy!
The stuff that others have covered which seems pretty credible:
High-res screen – AKA, a “retina” screen. That didn’t happen on the iPad 2, or any of the iPhones save the one-time update with the 4. It’s time, and it’ll be a great selling point to compare against the dpi of the Kindle.
Faster processor – A lame prediction to be sure. But let’s call it an A6 quad-core just for the fun of it.
Previous models for sale – This doesn’t always happen. You can’t but an iPad 1 from Apple today, but you can buy a iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. Previous models of laptops are typically only sold until the inventory is exhausted. Let’s say the iPad 2 goes for $100 less than it does today.
Bigger battery – This will cause the case to be slightly thicker (1 mm). I haven’t heard anyone say what this means for battery life, but today the spec says “Up to 10 hours”. I think it’ll actually stay the same.
March 7 announce date - Apple hasn’t announce a date when all the press should show up, much less give any indication that this un-announced event will announce a successor to the iPad 2. Availability 10 days later.
One thing I think will be announced, but isn’t iPad related, nor have I seen mentioned elsewhere:
iWork for Lion update - with built-in iCloud synchronizing. In terms of moving from one computer (phone/tablet/laptop) to the next and staying productive, this was a huge iCloud miss. Today a Keynote file will sync only between an iPad and an iPhone/iPod Touch. While I might use those platforms to improving a presentation, Keynote in Lion is still the most productive place to be. And to “sync” you need to download your keynote from the iCloud.com site and upload it after the changes are done. Could be a lot better.
As for other rumors out there? I’d expect Apple will certainly do something to surprise and delight, but how much of these are wishful thinking, I have no idea. Here are a few worth mentioning, but wouldn’t count on:
iCloud expansion – Maybe link your me.com address to your own domain. Or maybe an iCloud for business program that brings in corporate management tools. Or maybe desktop backup via iCloud. There’s something here, but what their next step is in the evolution, I’m not sure.
Siri iPad enabled – Seems like it would be a no-brainer, but then why would Apple add a feature that fits so much better on a phone? Siri feels more like a mobile productivity tool than a sitting-on-the-couch productivity tool.
A smaller iPad – From an Apple-must-respond-to-the-$200-Kindle-Fire perspective, maybe. But that’s not really Apple’s style. If such a thing is announced let’s call it 8″ with the 1024×7678 resolution running the A5 and starting at $300. And aimed at the education market. A more affordable model means schools will be more likely to buy a whole classroom set.
Apple TV refresh – Tweaks & improvements to the interface. Perhaps Siri enabled? Perhaps more streaming providers like a hulu.com deal?
An actual television – The Apple TV is no longer just a set-top-box, but an all-in-one screen + Apple TV. Lots has been discussed since the Isaacson mention, but I’m guessing Apple isn’t quite ready on this one.
LTE – You know, this one sounds credible and it’ll probably work out that the iPad 3 is all LTE-enabled, and the only way to get a wi-fi only model is to get the iPad 2. But I could care less on this feature. I don’t have 3G on my iPad 1, and even if I did, I would rarely use it.
Oh, and on the name. It’ll be the iPad 3 or the iPad 2S. Either way, it’ll be whole new model.