updated 06:00 pm EST, Thu March 1, 2012
Alternative name may be a guess or placeholder
While the press has assumed that the next version of the iPad, which will be unveiled next Wednesday, would be called the iPad 3, accessory makers whose products are beginning to show up in retailers' inventory systems have offered a possible alternative name: iPad HD. Though unofficial, and perhaps just a placeholder intended to foil searches for "iPad 3," what little is "known" about the upcoming iPad model does point to it being mostly graphics-centered.
Rumors, reports and sightings appear to confirm that the next iPad will feature a higher-resolution display, probably an exact doubling of the current 1,024x768 to a new standard of 2,048x1,536, along with a possible new 8MP backside camera. Powering the doubled resolution and camera is likely to be a new variation on Apple's existing A5 dual-core processor, and a new graphics chipset from PowerVR that is said to be 20 times faster than the current iPad, which if true would provide a major boost for video and gaming.
While the next iPad is also rumored to feature other improvements such as possible support for LTE networks and larger capacity, the bulk of the obvious changes if reports are accurate center around graphics, which would give the new iPad higher resolution and performance on par with the best HDTV models. Investigations have found some third-party accessories that are inventoried as being for the "iPad 3," but two major add-on makers -- Griffin Technology and Belkin -- have both had items turn up using the "iPad HD" moniker, reports AppleInsider (via Gizmodo).
Accessory makers tend to be the very last partners in the supply chain to get confirmations of new model releases and specifications, since they tend to leak details through anticipatory reveals of accessories or inventory part descriptions at retailers, the method used to discover the possible new product name. Electronics retailer Best Buy lists accessories for the "iPad 3" as arriving on March 11th (a Sunday), but this is likely to be a placeholder date. A screenshot (below) from TUAW shows a search that turned up products from Zagg's InvisibleSHIELD line.
For Apple to change the expected name of the product would not be unusual, given that the shape of the new model is expected to be nearly identical to the iPad 2, only slightly thicker. The company has a history of using alternate names, such as the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S, when the exterior design is mostly unchanged, lending credibility to the notion of an "iPad HD" name. It leaves the option of using the "iPad 3" tag on a future, more extensively revised future model. [via AppleInsider]