Apple’s next iPad, expected to go on sale in March, will
sport a high-definition screen, run a faster processor and work with
next-generation wireless networks, according to three people familiar with the
The company’s manufacturing partners in Asia started ramping
up production of the iPad 3 this month and plan to reach full volumes by
February, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the details
aren’t public. The tablet will use a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets
users jump more quickly between applications, two of the people said.
Chief executive officer Tim Cook is counting on the new
model to ward off mounting competition in a market that Apple pioneered two
years ago. After its debut in 2010, the iPad emerged as the company’s second-biggest
source of revenue - after the iPhone - and inspired rival products from
Amazon.com and Samsung Electronics.
Apple has sold more than 40 million iPads, generating at
least $25.3bn in sales.
Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple, said the company
doesn’t comment on rumor and speculation.
The Cupertino, California-based company has been working on
making the iPad compatible with a wireless standard called long- term
evolution, or LTE, said one of the people.
Carriers such as Verizon Wireless and ATT are rolling out
LTE networks to give users faster access to data.
Smartphone makers, including Samsung, Motorola and Nokia have
already introduced smartphones that work on the faster networks. Apple is
bringing LTE to the iPad before the iPhone because the tablet has a bigger
battery and can better support the power requirements of the newer technology,
said one of the people.
The new display is capable of greater resolution than the
current iPad, with more pixels on its screen than some high- definition
televisions, the person said. The pixels are small enough to make the images
look like printed material, according to the person. Videos begin playing
almost instantly because of the additional graphics processing, the person
Mass production began at the start of this month, with
factories running 24 hours a day in China, one of the people said.
Manufacturing will halt over China’s Lunar New Year holiday this month and then
ramp back up to a peak in February, the person said.
The introduction of the new iPad will be Apple’s first major
hardware release since the death of company co-founder Steve Jobs in October.
The company is hosting an education event focused on electronic textbooks next
week that won’t include any hardware introductions, said a person familiar with