iPad 3 slated for March -

Financial news service Bloomberg has fired up the random iPad rumour engine with ‘sources familiar with the product’ claiming a March launch date for the third incarnation of the fruity slate.

Quoting as their sources to be the number of people who’ve fondled the new third iPad, Bloomberg states that the device will include a high-definition screen, quad-core processor and 4G (LTE) communications. This is almost as vague as that other thing.

Still, according to Bloomberg's sources, the quad-core design ‘lets users jump more quickly between applications’ and that ‘videos begin playing almost instantly because of the additional graphics processing’. Apple is also counting on the iPad's extra battery capacity to accommodate the higher power consumption of LTE communications. Bloomberg calls it ‘making the iPad compatible with a wireless standard called long-term evolution’, but we call it “soldering on the right chip”.

The device, it is said, has entered mass production and will churn out copious amounts of the kit until Chinese New Year, when workers will take a few days off. From then on, it’s straight on to March where lorry-loads of the things get sent overseas.

What we see is this: there is no confirmation that Apple will use the new A6 SoC in the upcoming iPad, although it is still working with Samsung and TSMC. A quad-core chipset is more than likely to power the iPad 3, but it is also very likely that this is not truly a quad-core A9 processor design, but a powerful 2+2 cores design, similar to Asus’ Transformer Prime, where one dual core processor can offload workloads to a companion dual-core setup of Cortex M4 or similar co-processors.

This would not involve a redesign of the A5 and would help handle the increased power consumption.

The iPad 3 will more likely than not refresh the iPad line into the same class of hardware we can find on the iPhone 4S. Siri may find its way into the product, and 4G communications and Retina-class displays are really just a matter of sourcing the right third party for the kit. Much simpler than reinventing the wheel, or slate in this case, and fans would still bow down to Zod without batting an eyelid.

What will be interesting to see is how Apple will manage the power consumption on these devices. Keeping with the same battery tech and piling on features doesn’t make the iPad a highly autonomous computing device.

Its predecessor, the iPad 2, launched in March 2011, so it’s also a good, likely guess to keep things seasonal in the orchard.

All things considered, this will make up for a pretty poor Macworld in just a few weeks’ time, unless Tim Cook breaks out something shiny in a class of device that no-one could possibly predict.

*EyeSee We find it interesting that the iPad 3 'leak' has surfaced just when the company's customers are beginning to hold it to account for its work with Foxconn. Surely, a coincidence.