There's a lot of buzz about the iPad 3 flying around at the moment, not least thanks to a few purported case parts being leaked. But the internet has been sent a-spinning over the past few hours over the prospect of the device's launch being as early as 7 March.
According to iMore, its sources have pointed at that date for a major Apple announcement. And it says they are of the reliable type.
It also says the new iPad will come with a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina display, something that's seemingly backed up by the leaked Sharp screen pictures that have also been floating about. It will also feature an Apple A6 quad-core processor and, possibly, 4G LTE.
The Wall Street Journal also seems convinced of this latter feature. It reports "people familiar with the matter" have told the newspaper that both AT&T and Verizon will be stocking a 4G iPad 3. It also hints that the 7 March date could be correct, with Apple "planning to announce the latest version of its tablet computer in the first week of March, according to another person briefed on the matter".
However, it is the possibility of a 4G version that we find hard to believe here on Pocket-lint. While Apple has got some track record of offering tweaked and modified devices - the Verizon-badged 3G iPad 2, for example - it is rare for the company to create radically differently specified versions of a device for specific regions. And 4G is only in early testing stages in the UK and many other countries.
But the biggest reason to doubt that Apple will adopt 4G this time around is that the technology itself is still relatively young and the chipset is often power hungry. Yes, there are rumours that the company is increasing the size of the battery for the iPad 3, but this will be to run the more powerful A6 processor. Add 4G into the mix and battery life will suffer. Will 4G iPad 3 owners be happy that their device conks out considerably before Wi-Fi or 3G equivalents? We don't think so.
Therefore, it is far more likely that the company will be looking to implement 4G technology into its next smartphone, the iPhone 5, which could come in October. It could suffer the same problem, of course, but the chipsets will have time to improve somewhat.
Let's just say that we'd be extremely surprised if there were Wi-Fi-only, 3G and 4G models launched on 7 March. But maybe Tim Cook has a trick up his sleeve.
What do you think? Could a 4G iPad 3 be on the cards? Let us know in the comments below...