Apple to announce iPad 3 tomorrow – here’s what you should expect

By now it’s the worst kept secret in the tech industry. Apple will unveil a new iPad tomorrow in San Francisco, the third iteration of the device that has spawned an entirely new market and a flurry of competitors.

There are plenty of reports about what we’ll see tomorrow, including a preview of the new iOS update, a faster processor in the iPad itself and maybe, just maybe, a hint at a totally new product – the Apple television set.

And although Apple is built on secrecy, components have been leaking everywhere. Careful investigation of these parts by dedicated blogs and trader publications has given us some great insight into what we could see tomorrow.

So, with less than 24 hours to go, here’s the lowdown on what we can expect to see at Apple’s announcement tomorrow.

As always, SmartCompany will be reporting on the event as it happens.

Faster processor

There’s definitely a faster processor coming, but exactly what this processor is remains to be seen. A few tech blogs, including Apple Insider and The Verge, suggest Apple won’t be using an A6 processor but rather the A5X.

This would suggest the new chip is just a faster version of the A5, not something completely new. That may be due later in the year when the iPhone 5 is released.

High resolution screen

The biggest rumour of them all and also the most definite. Component leaks, software references and screenshot leaks also indicate Apple will debut a retina screen for the iPad, similar to the screen in the iPhone 4 and 4S models. It’s been a long time coming – customers wanted it in last year’s version – but the final addition suggests Apple isn’t done with high resolution screens.

Thicker body

The iPad 3 may actually be thicker than the previous models. There have been plenty of reports, and the latest at Apple Insider suggests the case will be 0.81mm thicker than the previous version. Several other reports have confirmed this as well over the past several weeks.

There’s some doubt over this one, as it would be unusual for Apple to introduce a thicker-bodied product when it’s been emphasising the previous iPads being so thin. But it may be willing to add some volume if the payoff is worth it.

The name – iPad HD

It makes sense the next iPad would be called the “iPad 3”, considering the previous version was named the “2”, but a new report suggests that’s not the case.

Both CNET and Venture Beat have tipped that the new device will be called the “iPad HD”. That’s the same name The Verge was touting last year when it was tipped off as well.

This seems like a pretty solid bet. And it would confirm the rumours of the higher resolution screen.

Immediate delivery

Apple has released so many products, now it’s getting the shipping down to a fine art – especially with Tim Cook at the helm. And reports suggest iPads are already making their way into America, ready for a launch perhaps no more than a week after tomorrow’s announcement.

As for when an Australian launch will occur, it’s impossible to say. But we only had to wait two weeks last year, so it’d be hard to see Apple moving back from that schedule.

Apple TV

There are two separate rumours there. The first is that Apple will show off some sort of update to its existing Apple TV set-top box, while the other is that it will finally debut what the industry has believed it to be working on for a while – a fully-fledged television set.

Hate to break it to you, but the second rumour is unlikely. Not only is Apple probably working on something far more complicated than a piece of television hardware, but a few sources have informed tech publications the updated set-top box is coming.

Over at The Verge, the word is the new Apple TV update will bring 1080p capability, and will also introduce some new features to bring it into line with Mountain Lion.

As to what Apple is doing with a full television set, that’s a little more complicated. It appears hardware may be on its mind, with a New York Post article earlier this week suggesting the tech giant is trying to get cable operators on its side to build a huge streaming television portal.

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