iPad 2S

iPad rumor round-up: Back-from-vacation edition

March 6, 2012: 6:14 AM ET

What we know, what we don't know, what the gossip sites are saying today

The Wi-Fi in the Dominican Republic was as on-and-off as the hot water showers, but some news from the tech world did manage to reach us on the beach.

With Apple (AAPL) scheduled to reveal its newest iPad Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST), here's a round-up of what Donald Rumsfeld used to call the known knowns and known unknowns:

Known:

  • Screen resolution: 2048×1536 Retina display seems a sure thing. For a good backgrounder on what Apple means by "retina," see here.
  • Case: A leaked video that looks quite legit shows a slightly thicker, more tapered body. That means Apple's magnetic screen protectors will still work, but third party snap-on cases won't.
  • Buttons and connector: Despite rumors (here and here) to the contrary, there seems to be a home button and the same old dock connector.
  • Prices: A leaked matrix shows shows the same three price points ($499, $599, $699) as before. What's not known is whether the iPad 2 will still be on sale, and at what price.

Unknown:

  • Name: iPad 3? iPad 2S? iPad HD? Tuesday's rumors lean toward the latter.
  • Processor: Dual core or quad core? 9to5Mac has found references to both buried in the iOS software. Apple will probably go with whichever chipset tested best.
  • Radio: 3G or LTE? A rumor site with a hit-or-miss track record claimed Tuesday that the iPad will be the first Apple product to support 4th generation "long term evolution" cellular networking. Bluetooth 4.0 seems a surer bet.
  • Camera: 3 megapixels? 5 megapixels? Back only? Front and back? Some improvement over the cheap iPad 2 cameras seems a must, especially given the demands of that new high-res screen.
  • Software: It would be a awfully dull media event without some software demos to show off the new hardware. A game or two is probably a sure thing. A new version of iPhoto and an iPad-ready version of Microsoft (MSFT) Office are pretty good bets.
  • Apple TV: Apple doesn't like to undercut its main events with secondary announcements, but it could probably slip in an updated Apple TV set-top box capable of handling full 1080p HD video without harshing the new iPad's vibe. The fact that most Apple Stores have run out of the current Apple TV is a sign that something is afoot.

One thing is certain: Whatever Apple unveils is going to be characterized in some quarters as a disappointment. And it's going to sell like hotcakes.

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