Reports point to early-March iPad 3 launch

The iPad 3’s release is nigh, if the latest round of reports from the rumor mill are to be believed. AllThingsD says it heard from its sources that Apple will stage the device’s launch in the first week of March. The launch will, as always, involve a "special event" in San Francisco.

AllThingsD also echoes previous rumors we’ve heard about the iPad 3—namely that it will have the same form factor as the iPad 2, but with a new processor and a 2048×1536 high-DPI display. Considering how often we’ve heard those details over the past few months, I’d say they’re a given now.

Then again, there were an awful lot of stories about a teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 before Apple rolled out the iPhone 4S. So, who knows?

In a separate story, The Next Web quotes "sources with knowledge of the matter" as saying Apple is in "crunch mode" right now, getting everything prepped and ready for the launch. The company is reportedly trying to figure out which apps it will show off on the device, both on stage and in the TV ads. Apps that take advantage of the faster chip and the Retina display will no doubt be on the menu.

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    • safghtjrtj
    • 9 years ago
    • TAViX
    • 9 years ago

    2048×1536>> Nice. Let me see 1 (one) game on the tablet that can play at full ress!

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      How about Simon? Or Tetris? I bet you can play the hell out of Angry Birds at that resolution.

      But really, the advantage will be in text and image rendering (reading, photos, web pages).

      • willmore
      • 9 years ago

      Angry Birds QHD?

    • crsh1976
    • 9 years ago

    I’m really just expecting a less-than-stellar refresh à la iPhone 4S, personally.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 9 years ago

    Can they sell it in China?

    • maxxcool
    • 9 years ago

    meh, ipad 1 still works great

    • gmskking
    • 9 years ago

    Who cares. I will save my $500. Nothing but a fad.

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      It’s past fad at this point. MS is working on exactly the same model, and I highly doubt it’s just to get in a market for a few years “while it lasts”.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    Anybody else think that the Retina-like display is going to crush gaming performance?

    The iPad2 has an excellent core and GPU, but I just don’t see computing power quadrupling with the resolution.

      • crose
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe games can use a “1024×768-mode”?

      • albundy
      • 9 years ago

      it depends if your game allows you to choose your resolution…if not, they yes, it will be crushed!

      • nagashi
      • 9 years ago

      One aspect of this that a lot of people forget is that if you get enough pixels, you actually don’t have to anti-alias. It might do just fine.

      • Duck
      • 9 years ago

      No! Games can run internally at 1/4 the resolution and scale perfectly and losslessly. I don’t know why this cant be done more for example in all source engine games or all UE3 games.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    …and it will take another year or so for the competition to come up with something relatively close again.

      • fyo
      • 9 years ago

      How do you propose Apple get that far ahead of their competitors?

      Apple doesn’t really MAKE (or design/engineer) any of the components themselves, so there is very little opportunity to get far ahead of the competition, especially once the basic market has been defined (which happened with the original iPad). Apple’s advantage is on the software side and the aesthetics of the tablet.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        The iPad 2 has had that kind of lead already for that length of time. In some areas the A5 is still leading (such as in graphics performance).

          • fyo
          • 9 years ago

          Only according to GLBenchmark which only supports legacy versions of OpenGL ES and is reportedly heavily optimized for iOS.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            A heavy optimization that isn’t realistically possible in Android land in order to maintain widespread compatibility.

            • fyo
            • 9 years ago

            A heavy optimization that isn’t realistically possible in actual games and applications. Take a look at actual GAMES that run on both platforms and all the side-by-side tests I’ve seen say that the Transformer Prime vastly outperforms the iPad2.

            One of the significant optimizations in benchmarks comes from Apple’s use of the NEON instruction set in its implementation of the Cortex A9 ARM processor. Tegra2 does not implement this, while Tegra3 does. In real-world situations (unless we’re talking physics / engineering simulations), it’s incredibly difficult to extract a significant boost from NEON.

            As for not being realistic with Android, I disagree. The problem in this case is that Apple is a single company (and with a huge market share) that has thrown a lot of effort towards optimizing the major benchmarks. Android lacks that single entity to back an optimization effort.

            Now (committing Internet Debate Seppuku), there is actually one company in the Android world that can put forth the effort: NVIDIA. The vast majority of Android TABLETS (possibly ALL if you exclude lower-end devices + Kindle Fire) use NVIDIA graphics (Tegra2/3).

            Check out what happens in that situation:

            [url<]http://www.slashgear.com/asus-transformer-prime-vs-ipad-2-side-by-side-gaming-02199774/[/url<] Absolute domination by Tegra3.

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            Looks good until the part about both of the games being dev only versions not yet available in Android Market. Has that changed since December?

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        It has a custom SOC.

          • fyo
          • 9 years ago

          It has a custom SoC with a Cortex A9 processor from ARM and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 from Imagination Technologies. Both are licensed to numerous companies so ANYONE can ship a SoC just like it if that’s what they wanted to.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            Sure they could, in theory, but could they do it in a profitable way. Tegra 2’s cost was already a concern for many and let’s face it individual tablet manufacturers don’t have the same purchasing power as Apple where they can get the steep discounts based on volume.

            • fyo
            • 9 years ago

            There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

            [i<]According to research performed by UBM TechInsights, Apple's larger A5 (12.1mmx10.1mm, compared to the 7.3mmx7.3mm A4) costs about $25 to build, making it $10 more expensive than similar dual core chips such as the Tegra 2 used by the Motorola Xoom.[/i<] (source: Apple Insider ([url=http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/03/13/inside_apples_ipad_2_a5_fast_lpddr2_ram_costs_66_more_than_tegra_2.html<]link[/url<]), ubm ([url=http://www.ubmtechinsights.com/reports-and-subscriptions/investigative-analysis/apple-ipad-2/<]link[/url<]) ) That's 67% more than Tegra2! Considering that the Tegra2 is 49mm2 compared to the 122mm2 of the A5, the difference in price is hardly surprising. Tegra3 is 82mm2, btw.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 9 years ago

            The A5 has tons of custom logic and still remains close to (CPU) or well ahead (GPU) of it’s competition in terms of performance nearly a year after its launch. Considering Apple owns a number of chip design firms and has recent patents relating to low level hardware/software functions, it’s safe to assume that the A6 will only have more unique features relative to it’s openly available competition.

            • fyo
            • 9 years ago

            See [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/22455?post=613903[/url<] And, no, the A5 doesn't have tons of custom logic with its CPU or GPU (in fact, none). The biggest difference (which isn't actually custom logic, but is referred to as such by most media) is their noise-reduction logic (licensed from Audience), but that's more of a "phone" feature.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 9 years ago

            The following article goes into some detail about the sheer quantity of custom logic on the A5:

            [url<]http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4215094/A5--All-Apple--part-mystery?pageNumber=0[/url<] Because Apple has complete control of the software and hardware stack and the A5's performance consistently hits above what its specs would suggests, I don't think it's unreasonable at all to assume Apple accelerates certain software functions using fixed function circuits or other custom, if licensed, hardware. Also, the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 is more than twice as powerful as the Tegra 3's GeForce ULP GPU and has a lot more memory bandwidth (64bit vs 32bit bus) to feed it: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/5072/nvidias-tegra-3-launched-architecture-revealed/2[/url<] The games referenced in the slashgear link were optimized uniquely for the Tegra 3 by nVidia's engineers at (I assume) the expense of performance on the substantially more powerful A5 to be used as a marketing tool. If the discrepancy in hardware power was reversed, I'd likely agree with you, but considering that's not the case it seems more accurate to just agree that the A5 is a surprisingly potent beast and move on until Krait and the A15 based SoCs land in late Q2. 🙂

            • fyo
            • 9 years ago

            Regarding the custom logic in the A5: The eetimes article is “old”. The vast majority was revealed to be audio-related (see the aforementioned Audience comment). There are absolutely no indications that there are any custom pieces of logic to handle general purpose CPU or GPU instructions.

            And the games in slashgear were indeed optimized for Tegra 3. That was the whole point I was making. Considering the claim that the current crop of GL Benchmarks are heavily “iOS” optimized, I felt showing some optimizations from the other side a valuable contribution.

            ” the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 is more than twice as powerful as the Tegra 3’s GeForce ULP GPU and has a lot more memory bandwidth (64bit vs 32bit bus) to feed it”

            More than twice as powerful? At what? Measured how?

            If you’re referring to the GFLOPs table, the Adreno should be roaring, but it’s consistently slower than the Tegra2, much less the Tegra3 (yet has the same number of GFLOPs as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2).

            As for the supposed massive amount of memory bandwidth that Tom et al tout for the A5… I’d like to see some documentation or benchmarks that indicate this. The A5 is widely reported to have 1066MHz (data) memory, but the part number on the actual chip says two Samsung LPDDR2-800 chips for a total bandwidth of 6.4GB/s. The Tegra3 supports up to DDR3L-1500 for a total bandwidth of 6.0GB/s. That’s hardly a major difference.

            Considering NVIDIA’s experience with GPU-optimized memory controllers, I would want to actually SEE the problems before I believe they exist.

            Actual memory benchmarks of the iPad2 seem to peak at around 2GB/s, but without a similar benchmark for Android (I was unable to find any), that’s pretty useless information 🙁

        • demani
        • 9 years ago

        They have process control down to a science like no other right now. They can buy what they want, when they want, and lock out the competition simply because it behooves any component manufacturer to provide what Apple needs since they are selling more than anyone else in that market (in other words, the component guys get to sell every part they make at one time).

        That’s how they stay ahead-it takes a year for other companies to get what they want, and without first mover advantage, Apple keeps rolling big sales while the others get the leftovers.

          • fyo
          • 9 years ago

          Displays are the only area where this would seem to be an issue – and only with high-DPI displays at that. There’s PLENTY of fab space available in this economic environment (and, let’s not forget, the A5 is actually manufactured by Samsung).

          Now, with regards to that single thing (retina display)… assuming the iPad3 actually has one… that could well keep the competition on their heels for a year. I don’t dispute that. The actual advantage (marketing aside) will be that games on a 2048×1536 display would be able to “just” render at normal resolution and let the graphics card scale up (almost “free”). Android devices would counter the retina display by offering high-dpi displays of their own, but since these will almost certainly be “HD” or some such, scaling won’t look nearly as good (or be as “free”).

      • Silus
      • 9 years ago

      It won’t take long for you to realize how wrong you are 🙂

    • tanker27
    • 9 years ago

    W00t. I cannot wait. Having skipped the second iteration I am excited to see whats in store for the third. Now I will hand down my OG iPad to my son.

      • BIF
      • 9 years ago

      I skipped both previous iterations and am excited to have (virtually) decided to get an iPad 3.

      W00t…whatever that means!

        • tay
        • 9 years ago

        Same here. I regret waiting and not getting the ipad2. I bought into the it doesn’t do what my laptop does hype, but I don’t like carrying my laptop around. I’ll be getting the ipad3 day 1.

        As to what I will use it for: [url<]http://reederapp.com/[/url<] for reading google reader, PDF manuals, technical ebooks, and news / sports news. Also plan on using iTunes U for video tutorials. I game on my PC (TF2!!!!)

          • ew
          • 9 years ago

          Same for me. Ipad 3 is a day 1 purchase. It will be my families first tablet.

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    Wonder what it’ll have in the chip? I’m betting on merely a faster, shrunk to Samsung’s 32nm process, A5 “A5.5” (dual-core 1.8GHz, 2x faster clocked SGX543MP2) rather than a new A6 (quad-core, etc) because *something* has to be disappointing in an Apple release.

      • fyo
      • 9 years ago

      Quad-core is a given, IMHO. The big questions would seem to be how much faster the graphics are and if the processor has a fifth “helper core”, like Tegra3.

      It’ll be interesting to get some more details on the display… “Industry reports” indicate that something has to give in order to make displays at that pixel density and size (aside from low initial yields, which are a given). There are some indications that brightness is a problem and that increased illumination is needed, which adds both bulk and energy use.

        • Decelerate
        • 9 years ago

        I’m not sure anymore that the A6 will be Quad-Core. If Apple believes that the performance doesn’t justify the cost (imo energy consumption rather than price), they might keep it at a dual-core packaging.

        This is similar to how many thought that the iPhone 5 (4s) would have LTE.

          • fyo
          • 9 years ago

          The sources that claimed the iPad3 processor would be quad-core seemed credible and the timing coincided with when one would have expected manufacturing to start. There are also some convincing iBoot screenshots out there showing 4 cores being detected.

          That said, there are been rumors of EVERYTHING (thicker/thinner, quad-core/dual-core, better/worse battery etc), so anything is certainly possible.

          If their quad-core design (and one would expect them to have one drawn up, even if the iPad3 doesn’t ship with it) doesn’t have a “helper core”, I could see power consumption being a problem.

            • BestJinjo
            • 9 years ago

            [url<]http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/8/2785486/ipad-3-back-photo-appears-a6-retina-display[/url<] According to people familiar with the product, though the new iPad will be touting that double resolution display — a true iPad Retina Display, clocking in at 2048 x 1536 — the device will be nearly physically identical to its predecessor, but the slate will be about one millimeter thicker overall. We're also told that the A6 CPU the iPad 3 is likely to sport will include a significantly more powerful GPU — no big surprise there. What is surprising, however, is that our sources say that the A6 will not be a quad-core chip, but will remain dual-core.

      • BIF
      • 9 years ago

      “*something* has to be disappointing in an Apple release”

      Yeah, it’s going to need water cooling. It will ship with a backpack to hold the pump, reservoir, and radiator!

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