Rumor: Third generation iPad to launch in February 2012 with a retina display

When Apple announced the first iPad back in January 2010, people called it nothing more than a giant iPod touch for rich white people with too much time on their hands and a mild case of internet addiction. When it hit store shelves a few months later in April, Apple managed to move over 3 million units in just 80 days, proving the skeptics wrong. Fast forward to March 2011, when Apple both unveiled and shipped the second generation iPad, and people began to understand why a tablet was different from both a smartphone and a laptop, and how it actually encouraged people to read again thanks what some might call the limitations of the multitasking user interface in iOS. It took only a weekend to push over 1 million units. Now that we’re just 3 weeks away from 2012, it’s time to think about the third generation iPad. What’s going to make it special? When will it be announced? When will it ship?

According to Richard Gardner, an analyst at Citi, his sources say that the iPad 3 will pack a screen with double the resolution of the iPad 2, meaning it’ll push 2048 x 1536 pixels, it’ll be announced in February, and “there do not appear to be any significant technical hurdles remaining” for getting it out to market shortly thereafter. Curiously, we’ve also been hearing rumors that Samsung is going to announce a tablet in February that has an ultra high resolution panel that pushes 2560 x 1600 pixels, so apparently the industry has figured out how to make these sharp displays in volume.

Besides the high resolution screen, we’re curious to see what kind of processor Apple will shove in the iPad 3. It’ll be faster than the A5, but how much faster? And don’t forget that this newer chip will eventually show up in the next generation iPhone, so we’ll have a sneak peak at what we can expect to see in terms of performance from the iPhone 5 in just 2 short months!

Assuming Richard is right of course.

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