iPad 3 Announcement coming March 7th

Here we go again! Apple has made it official today -- an announcement on their new iPad will be made on March 7th. Official specifications and features have not yet been published by Apple but the web is filled with rumors and wish lists for the new mobile device. And, Apple's new iOS -- iOS 5.1 -- is also expected to be revealed during that announcement as well.

Having purchased the 64gb/3G iPad 2 last April, I am once again faced with the decision to upgrade or pass. I have to say that as of right now, I am likely to 'pass' on this one. I just don't see anything truly compelling enough for me to spend the money for another iPad. It might be a better choice to save my money for the next iPhone instead (especially if the coveted iPhone 5 comes with LTE support and the ability to share that connection with my iPad 2 when needed).

So what are people thinking?

LTE Support with Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip.
This is the only real feature that makes an upgrade truly enticing for me. Having 4G LTE speed for the iPad would be awesome. Most people use their iPads for more powerful mobile computing, video/entertainment, and gaming. So having the ability to manage files in the Cloud more efficiently, enjoy a smoother video streaming experience with NetFlix/Hulu/YouTube, and faster audio streaming via iCloud are all major benefits of the faster network.

Quad Core A6 ARM processor by Samsung
The iPad 2 is a dual-core A5 processor that is very fast. It was a definite improvement over the original iPad processor. The A5 chip is also what is powering the iPhone 4S. So imagine the speed of this new quad-core A6! The iPad will be a speedy device for sure, and marrying that with the speed of 4G LTE, and you will certainly experience the 'turbo boost'. I would say this is the second enticement for moving up to the iPad 3, especially if you are a gamer, an iMovie user, or a power user who pushes their device to its fullest.

Bigger battery Capacity
One thing that 4G LTE users have groaned about on their HTC phones, is the impact of the LTE network access on their battery life. It isn't pretty. LTE can drain a battery fast, so it only makes sense that Apple would want to beef up the already beefy battery to compensate for LTE. I use my iPad all day long and it can last me 10-12 hours. If using LTE reduces overall battery life by more than an hour, I would be very upset. So increasing battery life makes sense. And if you don't use LTE, maybe the device will last a few more hours than it does today.

The long-awaited Retina Display
Everyone has been waiting for it. It did not appear in the original. It did not appear in the iPad 2. So it just 'has' to be in the iPad 3, right? With a potential resolution of 2048x1536, this would be great for game developers and video enthusiasts, not to mention viewing the photos you transfer to the device from your favorite Digital SLR Camera. Rumor have the screen being developed by Sharp, Samsung, and even LG. But with rumors of manufacturing challenges flying around, it is still unclear whether this is going to be realized in the next model.

A better Rear Camera at 8MP
Every time Apple releases an iDevice, they seem to want to improve the camera optics. So it is reasonable to expect that the iPad will get a better camera, perhaps at the same 8MP resolution as the iPhone 4S. It would be short-sighted to have an iPad 3 with a mediocre camera. So one feature pretty much brings the other along.

iOS 5.1 Release
Apple has been working on this new release for the past 3-6 months, and developers have had beta releases to work with for a while. It would make sense for Apple to announce the new OS along with the iPad 3, especially if there are features that the new device will take advantage of. A few of the new features that have leaked include:

  • FaceBook integration: Just like iOS 5.0 included Twitter integration, we will see greater integration of FaceBook into the built-in apps. It will be easier to upload photos and videos to FaceBook without using the FaceBook app, as well as posting updates. We might also see merging of contact information between the Contacts app and your FaceBook friends.
  • Notes w/Rich Text: The Notes app is pretty basic. Until now. Now you can choose more fonts, colors, sizes, and other rich text elements to your notes, making them a little more useful. Not sure if this will make me stop using apps like Texttastic or other notetaking apps, but at least they are improving this built-in solution.
  • Siri upgrade: Siri gets some improvements including support for the Japanese language and more support for dictation into email, notes, etc.
  • Camera slider swipe-up: To make it easier to take photos using an iDevice, there will now be a camera icon next to the Unlock Slider. You will be able to 'swipe up' on the camera icon to execute the camera app. This is great for those who have a lock code on their device. Now, if they could only make the camera app execute by pressing a volume button or something -- for those of us who live in winter climates and wear gloves (and don't have a pair of tech gloves).

    A few other rumors...
    A couple of rumors that I think are not likely to appear in this new release are Thunderbold device support (faster USB connectivity), a mini-USB port to replace the 30-pin connector for syncing, and a higher 128gb capacity model. I just don't see Apple changing their position on using the Cloud for additional storage needs. If you are a Cloud user, having USB ports to add storage is less necessary. And the mini-USB connector port would be great, but all of us with our multiple iDevice accessories (cases, chargers, GPS, speakers, VGA/HDMI adapters, etc.) would be pretty aggravated if they no longer worked (or we had to buy some $30 converter cable/adapter).


    So, are you planning to buy an iPad 3? If so, what is your compelling reason? Are you going to be selling an existing iPad in order to buy the new one? If so, check out Gazelle.com, which offers great deals for trading in your tech devices of all kinds for cash, gift cards, you name it.