The iPad 3 will reportedly launch in March 2012 with a minor update and a thinner design.
Referred to as more of an upgraded iPad 2, Apple's next tablet will sport a slimmer body and improved battery life. It is said to be like the update that the iPhone 4S sported from its smartphone predecessor.
It is still unknown on whether the iPad 3 will come with Siri, the voice-enabled feature.
The iPad 3 will need to enter into its mass production phase soon to make its planned launch date.
"We find it highly unlikely that Apple would launch a thinner iPad then a full 'iPad 3' upgrade only months later,” said 9to5Mac, a technology website. “We do think that the thinner, battery better life, and March launch components are strong possibilities, though."
The iPad 3 could also exclude a rumored retina-display feature upon release. The display sports the highest pixel density of 326 PPI for any tablet screen. Although, Apple explained that when it comes to a retina display, the human eye could not distinguish between individual pixels.
Leaked company information suggests that mass production for 264 PPI is scheduled to start this month. This is the highest tablet screen resolution Samsung and LG can construct now.
Development for the retina display's 226 PPI will arrive much later. Some analysts have said the current production costs vastly exceed those required to deliver tablet retina display to retail by 2012.
A recently published patent application filed by Apple also indicates that the iPad 3 will come with hands free controls. Apple filed for this technology patent back in the second quarter of 2010.
The patent application that was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office presents a visual interpretation of the controls.
Owners of Apple's next iPad device may be able to control cursors, icons, files, lists, text, and images with various hand signals. Users would use several specific hand gesture animations to manipulate any number of the tablet's activities.
Apple has reportedly started working with Taiwan-based manufacturer TSMC on the A6 processor that may power the iPad 3.
TSMC has not been confirmed as the producer of Apple’s A6 chip. Nevertheless, when it ships sometime in the future, the company's status behind the A6 chip should be authorized.
The iPad 2 still stands as one of the most popular and successful tablets on the market.
Apple is said to be in no rush to deliver the iPad 3 to its customers now.