5 things you need to know about the iPad 3

The iPad 3 (aka iPad HD) is expected to be one of the biggest tech launches this year - and it's not hard to see why. The iPad is not only the leader in a market that it helped to invent, but its phenomenal sales numbers have not only help Apple become the world's biggest PC maker by volume, but have also made it the world's most valuable company to boot.

Techheads have been slavering over the iPad 3's possible specs and features for months, but the expected launch at 6pm GMT today will finally reveal how accurate the rumours and speculation so far have been. And even if they prove to be false Well then we can start dreaming about the iPad 4, can't we?

Rumour 1: The iPad 3 will have a Retina Display

This rumours' been circulating ever since the iPhone 4 first got its high res Retina Display in 2010 and is practically a dead cert. Then the Retina Display increased the pixel density of the iPhone's 3.5-inch display by four times to 326 pixels per inch.

Now it looks like Apple is about to give the iPad 3 similar treatment with its resolution of its 9.7-inch display rising from 1024 x 768 pixels to 2048 x 1536, with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch.

That's enough for you to notice a massive increase in picture quality with images and apps appearing clearer and more detailed than ever before. Increasing the display resolution to 2048 x 1536 pixels will enable the iPad to support 1080p Full HD videos too.

Rumour 2: The iPad 3 will get a quad-core processor

Going hand-in-hand with the Retina Display upgrade will be an A6 quad-core processor that will make the iPad even more powerful than ever before.

Having all that power on tap will enables users to run more apps and faster - and will give developers the opportunity to develop even more impressive, feature rich iOS apps for the iPad in future.

Put Rumours 1 and 2 together and you end up with...

Rumour 3: iPhoto, Aperture and the 1080p Movie Store

A more powerful iPad 3 with a high resolution display will finally give designers, photographers and other creatives the quality they need to create and edit their work on the go.

Apple certainly appears to be moving in that direction itself: its photo editing apps iPhoto and Aperture are both expected to appear on the iPad 3 if the rumours are true.

MacRumours says the launch of the iPad 3 will also enable Apple to launch a 1080p iTunes Store, enabling movie fans to rent, buy and download movies in true high definition picture quality - and Apple has been busy getting movie studios to sign up since last year.

Rumour 4: iPad 3 to support LTE-Advanced

Erm, what? The two current iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G models already enable you to get access to all that lovely internet contest using a fast mobile phone connection, but the iPad 3 could give you even more web surfing speed thanks to LTE-Advanced - aka 4G - support.

That's fantastic news if you already live in a country that has its 4G / LTE mobile infrastructure in place, but in the UK access to this super network will be hampered by the fact that only limited trials have taken place so far.

Rumour 5: iPad 3 / HD to include haptic feedback

When Apple first asked the world's press to attend the Special Event that's taking place later today, the invite read: "We have something you really have to see. And touch." Now Carolina Milanesi of analysts Gartner has put two and two together and kicked off a whole new slew of rumours around possibility of including haptic feedback on the iPad 3 / HD.

Haptic feedback is a tactile technology that enables you to feel as well as see UI elements on a touchscreen device by using tiny electrical pulses so your fingers feel a rippling or vibrating effect.

Samsung and others have been using haptic feedback technology on smartphones and tablet for a while now, but this has been something Apple has always studiously avoided.

Now an advanced version of haptic feedback, made by Finnish firm Senseg could be about to give Apple and iPad 3 users just what they've been waiting for.

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