The Apple iPad 2 is barely out of its pristinely white box, but rumours surronding the iPad 3 release date, specs, features and price continue to intensify which will no doubt already have tongues wagging on what the Cupertino company has in store for their next Apple tablet.
As the Android tablet army continues to swell, anticipation of how Apple will stay ahead of the game will be of interest to more than just the faithful fanboys. So, from the 'reliable sources' to interesting patents going up for FCC approval, we piece together how the iPad 3 could take shape.

Apple iPad 3: Design

The latest reports suggest the iPad 3 will be thicker than the iPad 2 at 0.7mm with the reasoning behind this being that to light the new HD display the iPad 3 needs larger light bars.
A whole new form factor has been suggested via components leaked online which are alleged to be from the iPad 3. Although an obscure and seemingly unimportant piece of tech innards at first glance, the reported iPad 3 componentlabelled the ‘821-1259-06’ has revealed Apple is to change the iPad’s design for the third-generation release whilst maintaining the white and black colour schemes.
Appearing to be a dock connector with attached ribbon cable, unlike the iPad and iPad 2 the iPad 3 component features a 90 degree turn as opposed to going straight on suggesting Apple is to reshuffle the device’s hardware features.
Said to be sourced from Apple’s “internal inventory” and leaked via web forum, a site responsible for leaking the latest iPod Nano prior to its formal arrival, the first iPad 3 component leak has offered an intriguing glance at what the future Apple tablet might have in store.

Apple iPad 3 specs: A6 processor

Reports have suggested Apple is to drop A5 manufacturer Samsung from the production of the A6 chip as the next-generation processor enters early testing stages.
The latest revelation in a longstanding battle between the brands, Apple is claimed to have ousted Samsung from its iDevice processor production duties as the iPhone 6 and iPad 3 A6 CPU is said to have begun being tested by TSMC.
“We know that the iPad 3 will be the first of their iOS devices to get the new processor, so we should expect confirmation of this [new manufacturer] in March 2011,” tech blog Product Reviews announced earlier this month.

Apple iPad 3 specs: Retina Display

We now have new information from an analyst which claims the iPad 3's Retina Display is in fact already in production with fully finished units ready by the end of the year prompting further speculation of an early 2012 release.
There are of course those that feel it may not follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch as many perhaps hoped, but Digital Trends suggests the display qualities will still improve commenting that, “Apple is speculated to be considering using an AMOLED panel or Full HD resolution support for the coming tablet.”
But if you go by what Daring Fireball’s John Gruber says, a man renowned for his insider knowledge of the Cupertino company, the iPad 3 will tout a Retina Display.
In a blog post discussing how iPad magazines can improve and capture more users, Gruber said, “These magazines and newspapers that render each “page” as a static 1024 × 768 image are going to look like utter ass on the iPad 3’s 2048 × 1536 retina display.”
Gruber is well known for calling correct release dates and specs for almost every Apple product, suggesting he has some good information to be able to make such a claim