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11:33 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

iPad 3 Reports Suggest 8MP Camera

Spy shots of the Apple iPad 3 are hitting the Web fast and furious. The latest batch show off the camera, rear casing, and display panel.

At this point, nearly every individual component of the iPad 3 has been leaked somewhere, to someone. Putting them all together gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect from Apple when it finally gets around to announcing the darned thing in a couple of weeks.

First, the front panel was recently spied and reveals that Apple is still planning to leave the Home button on the device. The Home button is an essential part of iOS's functionality, though some had expected the button to eventually go away. Not yet, apparently.

Second, the iPad 3 is all but confirmed to have a 2048-pixel-by-1536-pixel resolution—what Apple has dubbed a retina display. MacRumors says it got its hands on one of the panels and put it under a microscope to count the pixels. As far as it can tell, the pixel density of the new panel is four times that of the iPad 2 display, which points to a retina display.

Third, the rear casing spy shots suggest that the iPad 3 will be thicker by about 1mm, but will have a finer taper at the edges. Most believe the iPad 3 will be thicker than the iPad 2 in order to accommodate a large battery--which is necessitated by the higher resolution screen and LTE 4G radio.

Fourth, the same rear casing spy shots tip that the iPad 3 will have an 8MP camera. Apple uses an 8MP camera for the iPhone 4S. While I don't know if tablets really need 8 megapixels, updated cameras for the iPad 3 would be most welcome. What the iPad 3 really needs is the ability to support 1080p HD FaceTime chats. That's more important than the power to shoot 8MP stills.

Fifth, images reveal that the iPad 3 might not have an "A6" processor as previously thought, but an Apple processor labeled "A5X" instead. A shot of what could be the iPad 3's motherboard shows a processor with A5X on it, but for all we know that could be a code name. Code name or not, it is believed to have four cores. One thing that's readily apparent in the motherboard picture is that it looks entirely different from that of the iPad 2's motherboard. This is somewhat corroborated by earlier leaked images of the rear panel, which show different anchor points for the motherboard.

What else is there to know? Apple has said nothing, and won't until it takes the stage to announce the iPad 3, probably the first week of March. As long as you don't mind stomaching a spoonful of salt, these various reports are aligning pretty well ahead of next month's debut.

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