Apple Talk: iPad 3 launch in September? Surely Jobs isn't that crazy

It's still unclear how Apple will use its September launch event...

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs says 2011 is the year of the iPad 2 but could he have another tablet up his sleeve?Photo: Stephen Shankland/CNET

Would Steve Jobs really launch two iPads in the same year? A sceptical Seb Janacek sifts the evidence.

Rumours of a 2011 launch for the iPad 3 have persisted for months despite Steve Jobs' assertion that 2011 is the year of the iPad 2. Aha, goes the argument - that is precisely what Apple wants you to think. Classic Steve Jobs. I'm not convinced.

Since March's launch of the iPad 2 there has been a groundswell of opinion that the as yet unannounced iPad 3 could appear as soon as September. That would be months ahead of the expected arrival of the product in March or April 2012. Not that the iPad has an established product update cycle but the rumour mill grinds on regardless.

The device is said to feature faster chips, possibly dual core, near-field communications technology and wildly optimistic suggestions of SD card slots and USB - or even Thunderbolt - slots. Naturally, it will be thinner and twice as beautiful as its predecessors. It might even be 3D.

The big feature is the display. The iPhone 4's so-called Retina Display has long been coveted by iPad owners. The marketing term was coined by Apple to describe the high-resolution display of 326 pixels per inch and it's probably the most impressive feature on the iPhone 4.

The arrival of such a display on the iPad would be a marvel but much has been written of the constraints in doing so, both from technical and cost perspectives. Some rather clever folk have calculated that an iPad 3 screen with the resolution of 326 pixels per inch would result in a higher resolution display than that found on Apple's largest 27-inch iMac.

Many expected the Retina Display to appear on the iPad 2. It would have been the only clincher for me and a couple of iPad-owning friends to upgrade immediately from the first-generation device. As it happens, it remained at 132 pixels per inch. Yet reality has little bearing on gadget desire.

The Apple rumour mill grinds on

John Gruber of Apple blog Daring Fireball was one of the first to set off the rumour mill when he suggested in February that the company could move the iPad launch date to September, now that the traditional iPod event held in that month was starting to lose press interest. The argument is that announcing the iPad three months before the holiday season would build more marketing momentum for Christmas.

It's now widely predicted that Apple will use the September event to launch...