As the clock ticks down to Apple’s special media event today, a few last-minute rumors concerning the expected announcements have surfaced. In particular, the “iPad 3” may have more RAM, get LTE service from Verizon, and have a new $99 AppleCare+ option. We may also see Apple adopt a new haptic technology that enables the smooth glass surface of an iPad’s screen to have variable virtual textures.
The iPad 3 is widely expected to feature a 2048 x 1536 pixel “Retina” display, an improved “A5X” dual-core ARM processor, and updated camera hardware in a slightly thicker, but largely similar design as the iPad 2. It has also been rumored that the iPad 3 will come in a version with 4G LTE wireless networking built in.
Based on debugging information for a presumed iPad 3 prototype, ChronicWire has calculated that the next-gen iPad will come equipped with 1GB of RAM. A developer recently told Ars that additional RAM would be required to handle graphics for the extremely high “Retina” resolution based on his tests using 2048 x 1536 pixel artwork, so this information makes a lot of sense to us.
While an LTE-equipped iPad 3 is also expected, it seems certain that wireless service will be available from Verizon on launch. A source for Cult of Mac said that Verizon has been installing LTE networking equipment in Apple Store retail locations across the country for the last few days. Recent information suggested that both Verizon and AT&T would offer LTE service, but the latest information seems to suggest that Verizon might be an exclusive LTE partner to start.
Also, Apple appears to be upgrading its $79 AppleCare extended warranty for the iPad to a $99 AppleCare+ plan, according to MacRumors’ sources. AppleCare+, first offered for the iPhone last October, includes two years of extended regular warranty as well as two incidents of “accidental damage.” For a $49 fee, an iPad damaged by dropping, dunking in the pool, or other means not typically covered under a warranty will be replaced with a refurbished unit. 9to5 Mac said that readers have reported that AppleCare+ has been showing up this week as an option in Apple’s EasyPay app.
Most interesting, we think, is a rumor that Apple may include haptic “texture” technology in the iPad 3. Senseg, the developer of a technology that uses electric fields to selectively generate the sensation of texture on a touchscreen, may have inadvertently hinted that Apple will be using the technology in iOS devices. “We won’t be making any statements until after Apple’s announcement,” a company spokesman told Pocket-lint after asking if the company would be involved in the iPad 3 launch. Haptic feedback could certainly elevate user interaction with an iPad or other iOS device, and would be something you “have to touch” to experience.
Be sure to keep an eye on our live coverage of Apple’s announcements today at 10AM PST (GMT -0800).