The Ben & Jerry's BIG SCOOP OF THE WEEK (Note: Not an actual product tie-in) goes to the Wall Street Journal, which reported exclusively that the next iPad will feature 4G capability and will run on AT&T and Verizon's LTE networks. That would make the upcoming iPad the first iPad device to be 4G -- then Apple COO Tim Cook memorably said in February 2011 that 4G was not featured in the iPhone 4 because the thicker LTE chipsets "would force design compromises we're not willing to make."
Design compromises, shmesign shmompromises! Your next iPad could be an iPad 4G!
No, seriously, it could be an "iPad 4G." The New York Times casually mentioned in a February 9th report that the next iPad would not necessarily be dubbed the iPad 3, which makes me wonder if the next iPad might just be called the "iPad 4G," rather than the iPad 3 (or the -- shudder -- iPad 2S).
As for when that next iPad (whatever the thingamajig is called) could be announced: Well, it appeared that our old friend THE BLOGOSPHERE has figured that one out. And the winning date for the Annunciation of the Next iPad is...
Alliteratively named Apple blogger Rene Ritchie of the Apple blog iMore first reported that the iPad was likely to be introduced at an Apple event on March 7th; Jim Dalrymple, the well-sourced, well-bearded Apple blogger, confirmed that Ritchie was, indeed, correct (I can confirm that Rene Ritchie is, indeed, an alliteration).
Anywho, after much confirmation, the next iPad appears destined to be announced on March 7 in San Francisco. Count on it. It's destiny, people.
Now that the date of announcement has been determined, all that is left is to figure out what the next iPad will look like. And one website thinks it's got the goods...
See that above? That could be the next iPad, according to the Chinese-language site Apple Daily. What you're looking at, specifically, is a much larger camera -- 8 megapixels, per AD -- in a form factor that is very, very similar to the iPad 2.
We'd heard before that the new iPad would look a lot like the iPad 2, along with the oft-repeated gossip that the iPad 3 would be a millimeter or two thicker than the iPad 2, in order to pack in a thicker battery, or an improved Retina display with double the resolution, or perhaps a 4G LTE chipset. If these photos are accurate, then the newest iPad could indeed be a near-identical replication of the iPad 2 but with improved core features and a little bit of weight added on. (As we all do, in the winter).
But this is only the backside of the iPad 3, and I know that not all of you are backside-men and backside-women. Itching to see the front of this tablet? Next slide, puh-leaze...
According to MacRumors, which somehow procured a display from the upcoming iPad, what you're looking at above is the screen from the iPad 3. They did some scientific work (which you can read about here) and determined that the iPad 3 will, indeed, feature a so-called Retina Display, which Apple defines as a display on which the human eye cannot discern individual pixels on the screen.
It has been widely rumored that the Retina Display will be the killer new feature of the iPad 3, doubling the resolution and quadrupling the pixels, from the 1024 x 768 pixel iPad 2 to 2048 x 1536 on the iPad 3. If the display that MacRumors has is the real deal, then the next iPad will indeed have a Retina Display.
According to Eric Slivka of MacRumors, the site got its hands on an iPad 3 display and looked at it under a microscope, people. It's science.
But you know what's still not a science (at least, not a science taught in grade school)? Predicting future Apple product releases. There are, in fact, a variety of ways you can be totally and unapologetically wrong about Apple's future, as the past year taught us.
With that caveat, let's dive in to two somewhat unlikely (but still perhaps likely? Who knows) Apple rumors from the past week: An iPad Mini and Apple Video Goggles.
Amazon's cheapo-depot $199 Kindle Fire is selling well -- by some accounts, it is already the number two best-selling tablet of all time, trailing the iPad by a wide, wide, wide margin. To combat this rising Amazon insurgency, Apple has been rumored to be working on a so-called iPad Mini, a 7-inch or 8-inch iPad that will be less expensive than the full-sized iPad and will be positioned to win back some of those customers who voted with their wallets for the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet.
Well, the Wall Street Journal has a new report from the Asian supply chain claiming that Apple is, indeed, building these things, at least as prototypes.
Here's the WSJ, which has had a busy week on the Apple rumor front:
Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif., company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around eight inches and said the company is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.
The report does note that Apple may "opt not to proceed with the device." And here we will quote the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, on 7-inch tablets during a conference call with Wall Street analysts in 2010:
It's meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.
(NOTE: Should Apple go forward with its iPad Mini, it is going to make a killing on its iSandpaper).
That seems like as good a segue as any into our final Apple rumor of the week: FUTURISTIC VIDEO GOGGLES.
This one is fairly far away, I would guess, but it is so much fun I couldn't resist: Our friends at Patently Apple, a site that covers Apple patents, points to a breakthrough in tiny OLED display screens that just might speed up the process by which our eyeglasses will always be able to show us the contents of our smartphones, MP3 players, or portable Nintendos. FINALLY! Can't see how this could go wrong.
(Actually, Verizon and a company called Golden-i showed off a similar technology at CES, in which the user strapped on a headset with a single screen in front of his right eye: The screen showed the contents of the smartphone in his pocket, and the user could control the smartphone just by looking up, down, left or right, and by speaking voice commands. It was NEAT-O, but not something I would want someone, say, driving the car behind me wearing).
Read all about the ways in which you will never have to not be looking at your iPhone in the near future at Patently Apple.
That's all for This Week In Apple Rumors. Check back next week, when I will have fused a miniature iPhone display into my cornea for easier access to my iPhone. Or, if you can't wait for these weekly round-ups, follow me on Twitter for all the latest Apple rumors, iPad 3 or otherwise.