The iPad 3 rumor mill has definitely been heating up in the last week, perhaps a sign that we are getting closer to March, which is the likely month for Apple to announce the third generation of their successful tablet. This week has been dominated by possible leaked images of the rumored Retina display, and the resurface of the iPad Mini; a 7-inch screen version of the iPad 3.
I’m not all surprised that the 7-inch iPad rumor has once again surfaced following the introduction of the Amazon Kindle Fire into the market, a device that is about a third of the price compared to the current iPad model, features a smaller screen, and one of the few alternatives to the iPad that seem to have been attracting interest from the consumer, although Amazon has not released any official sales figures as of yet (believed to be in the millions over the Christmas period). This disruption in the market might just have been the trigger to make Apple consider bringing a smaller screen version at a lower price point to the market, although there are strong arguments for Apple not making that move as well.
The real fuel behind the iPad Mini rumor this time is a technology Business Research Analyst that said that Apple will launch two new products in the coming month, believed to be a case accessory featuring integrated keyboard, and the 7-inch iPad model.
Steve Jobs is famous for saying that 7-inch screens are just too small for a tablet, but it could well be that it was just fight talk, and that Apple has had plans for introducing a smaller iPad version all along, and perhaps one of the reasons why there was no significant upgrade of the iPod Touch last October. If there is a new 7-inch iPad it is likely to run with the same screen resolution as the current iPad 2, thereby circumventing developers having to rework apps to support another screen size.
The other big iPad 3 story this week has been around the form factor and the Retina display as images of components, including the Retina display are leaked (parts are not confirmed).
Sooner or later we will see an iPad with Retina display, and the iPad 3 might just be the one to receive it, and it could be the above; a Sharp XQGA panel with a 2048 x 1536 resolution.
Some of the same leaked images of casings etc. have also put a damper on the rumor of a quad-core A6 processor, which has earlier been one of the key rumored features alongside with the Retaina display.
If the rumors are true with should find out for sure sometime early March.