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From a faster processor, to Retina Display, to a better camera, to a name change, there are several new features reportedly in the works for the newest tablet from Apple. The company didn't say which product it will introduce today.
Here is an updated list of all the purported features of the iPad HD. (It had previously been called the iPad 3, until a
story broke that Apple would change the name.)
Long Term Evolution (LTE) may be the biggest change to the iPad HD. LTE would allow the iPad HD to surf the Internet and perform other functions such as downloading and opening apps at much faster speeds. The iPad HD would be 4G-compatible, running on the high-speed networks from
AT&T(T - Get Report) and
Verizon(VZ - Get Report).
Sprint(S) also has a 4G network and it already carries the iPhone 4S, but it doesn't offer a data plan for the iPad yet.
LTE is expected to be a
major selling point, according to Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu.
"This significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon's Kindle Fire and not to mention the myriad of Google Android offerings out there," Wu wrote in a recent research note. Wu recently raised his calendar year 2012 iPad estimate from 51 million units to 55 million units. He rates Apple "buy" with a $620 price target.
Running on LTE could help improve FaceTime, Apple's software application that allows users to make video calls to other iOS users. As a result, many expect Apple to increase the quality of the cameras on the iPad HD.
Rumors persist that the new iPad will get a high-definition front-facing camera to help support video conferencing. The back-facing camera may be upgraded to 8 megapixels or more to take higher-quality photos. Currently, the iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera.
There has also been talk that Apple will release an update of its newest operating system, iOS 5.1, on March 7. Apple released the previous version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5, along with the iPhone 4S on Oct. 4, 2011.
Apple may put a new processor, codenamed A5X, into the iPad HD. This would help Apple keep up with the speed demands for running on the LTE networks from telecom companies. Some are expecting a dual-core processor, while a few expect a quad-core, or four chips on a single processor.
The screen is likely to be the other major change from the previous version. It is expected that the new iPad will have Retina Display, and feature a QXGA 1,536 x 2,048-pixel HD display. That is much clearer than the iPad 2. It will have twice as many pixels as the previous version. Currently, only the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have Retina Display.
There are rumors that
Corning's(GLW) Gorilla Glass 2 could be used as the screen for the iPad HD. Apple
acknowledged its relationship with Corning on Friday, when it mentioned the company as a supplier amid job creation in the U.S.
This coincides with a potentially better speaker system on the iPad HD, as users increasingly use it for video support, watching movies and TV shows from
Netflix(NFLX) and other content-related apps.