iPad rumor report card: Who got it right, who got it wrong

The rumors surrounding Apple’s third-generation iPad have now been replaced with cold, hard facts. But considering the inevitability of the rumor mill that precedes any Apple announcement — and the now-infamous failure of the tech press to get most of the details right about the iPhone 4S — we’ve decided to go back and see which sources got their rumors right, and which failed miserably.

Rumor: Named iPad 3, or iPad HD

While it’s nearly impossible to trace back the origin of the iPad 3 moniker (many just used that as a placeholder), the rumor leading up to the big announcement was that the tablet would actually be called “iPad HD.” The iPad HD name first popped up on The Verge last July. But it wasn’t until Venture Beat and CNet reported that this would be the real name (thanks to an anonymous source) that many assumed the third-generation iPad would carry that handle.

Conclusion: Fail (The Verge, Venture Beat, CNet)

The Verge, Venture Beat, and CNet all got it wrong (or at least their source did). The real name is, well, just iPad, or “new iPad.” If you ask us, either iPad 3 or iPad HD would have been a far better choice.

Rumor: 4G LTE connectivity

The rumor that the third-gen iPad would have a 4G LTE radio really picked up steam in January, after Bloomberg reported as much. This was later corroborated by a report in the Wall Street Journal, which added that both Verizon and AT&T would carry a 4G LTE iPad.

Conclusion: Win (Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal)

Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal got this one as spot on as possible.

iPad-3-touchingRumor: Retina display

An iPad with a Retina display has been around since before the iPad 2 was released last year. But after that failed to materialize, the rumor just hooked to the third-gen iPad. The first to indicated that the new iPad would, in fact, have a Retina display with at 2048×1536 resolution was Taiwan-based DigiTimes, which reported this detail in August of 2011. DigiTimes’ report was followed up a few days later by a report from the Wall Street Journal. The rest, as they say, is history.

Conclusion: Win (DigiTimes)

DigiTimes — a regular source of Apple rumors, but not a consistently accurate one — got it totally right. The new iPad does have a 9.7-inch, 2048×1536 resolution Retina display, just as the site reported.

Rumor: Design nearly identical to iPad 2

The first believable report about the new iPad’s design came via The New York Times, which received word from an unnamed Apple employee that it is “essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2.” We received further evidence of this thanks to China-based tech blog MIC Gadget, which had photos and video of what they claimed was the front and back shell of the new iPad. Those parts showed that the next-gen Apple tablet would look nearly identical to the iPad 2, but be slightly thicker.

Conclusion: Win (The New York times, MIC Gadget)

The New York Times’ information was correct, and the MIC Gadget photos seem legit, as well. The new iPad is almost identical to the iPad 2, save a bit of extra girth: it measures 9.4mm thick, versus the iPad 2’s 8.8mm.

Rumor: Quad-core CPU

In early January, 9to5Mac reported that code embedded in the developer version of iOS 5.1 suggested upcoming iPads and iPhones would run on a quad-core processor. About a week later, the same Bloomberg report that said we’d see LTE in the new iPad also indicated that the device would run on a quad-core CPU, based on information from two unnamed sources. At this time, most believed the CPU would be called the A6. In early February, The Verge reported that the A6 processor would actually be dual-core, like the A5 — not quad-core. Then, in the middle of last month, a photo of what appeared to be an Apple circuit board appeared on a Chinese website. But the processor in the photo was called an A5X, not an A6.

Conclusion: Fail (Bloomberg)

While Bloomberg got it wrong, The Verge got it half right — the most important half. The CPU in the new iPad is (apparently) dual-core, not quad-core. But the leaked photo was right, too; the processor is called the A5X, not the A6. To make things confusing, however, Apple has included a quad-core graphics processor, which may have been the source of the inaccuracies in earlier reports.

Rumor: Siri

The addition of Siri voice assistant on the third-gen iPad seemed all but a given, even thought we weren’t able to track down the exact source of that rumor. Still, Siri appeared on many of the “what to expect” articles in the lead-up to the new iPad announcement, including ours.

Conclusion: Fail (Digital Trends)

Since we haven’t been able to trace back to the original source, we’ll take the blame for spreading this false rumor. (Hey, we’re as guilty as anyone.) Alas, the new iPad does not have Siri, though it does feature voice-to-text capabilities.


Rumor: Camera upgrades, front and back

In early January, iLounge reported that the new iPad would feature a high-definition front camera similar to those found on new Macs. Then, in early February, Repair Labs leaked photos of what apperaed to be the rear casing of the third-gen iPad, which showed a larger hole for the camera than is on the iPad 2. All of this (and the slew of speculation that followed) suggested that new cameras, front and back, would arrive on the new iPad.

Conclusion: Fail (iLounge)

The iLounge report was dead wrong; the front camera is still VGA-quality. But the rear camera has been upgraded to 5-megapixels, can is capable of shooting 1080p video.

Rumor: March 16 release date

The original release dated floating around was March 9. But six days prior to the actual announcement, the Houston Chronicle suggested that the third-gen iPad would come out on March 16, the same day as Apple plans to open stores in both Houston, and at the Harrod’s department store in London.

Conclusion: Win (Houston Chronicle)

The Chronicle was right: March 16 is New iPad Day. But pre-orders are available now.