Sorry, Apple fans. There might not be an iPad 3 this year — or at least not the iPad 3 you were expecting. With less than two months to go until the iPad 2's first anniversary, reports are swirling as to how Apple will top its popular tablet. And now, respected tech blogger Jeremy Horwitz has reportedly gotten a hands-on preview of the next-generation iPad at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Here, four talking points:
1. It will look an awful lot like an iPad 2
On the outside, the new tablet looks so similar to the iPad 2 that "the change is unnoticeable on first impression," says Jeremy Horwitz at iLounge. It's like the change from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S. "I'd show you a picture, but there's honestly nothing to be seen." The new tablet is just one millimeter thicker, Horwitz says, with all the buttons, speaker, and ports in the same places. Sources from Apple's supply chain corroborate Horwitz's report, says Darrel Etherington at GigaOm. "Tight-fitting cases might not fit," but the devices are so similar on the outside that other iPad 2 accessories should still be compatible.
2. But it will have a high-res screen like the iPhone's
The next iPad will reportedly use Sharp LCD display panels, says Etherington. Remember: In December, Sharp was reported to have "secured a contract to provide Apple" with new panels that would allow for higher-resolution displays without adding bulk. That lines up with what Horwitz saw, says Will Shanklin at Geek.com.
3. The cameras will get a much-needed upgrade
The next iPad's rear-facing camera "would be upgraded to either the same 8-megapixel camera that Apple uses in the iPhone 4S," says Joe Aimonetti at CNET, "or, at the very least, the camera unit used in the iPhone 4." The iPad's much-maligned front-facing camera is expected to get an upgrade, too.
4. It probably won't be called the "iPad 3"
These changes are "modest" enough that Apple "could easily" call this new tablet the "iPad 2S" or the "iPad 2HD," notes Horwitz. Though in my opinion, "the screen and other major internal changes could collectively justify the 'iPad 3' moniker" — "but we'll see."