First of all, what is Apple going to call the iPad 4? Apple threw everyone a curve ball when it launched the iPad 3, it didn't even call the iPad 3 'iPad 3', opting for just new iPad instead. So what Apple is going to call the forth generation iPad, God only knows! To keep everyone's heads from falling off in confusion, we think it's best if everyone refers to Apple's next tablet as the iPad 4 (for now)…phew. See also iPhone 5 release date, specs and rumour round-up
iPad 4 Release date
Apple is a creature of habit and likes to stick to its winning formula. This would lead us to believe that we can expect the iPad 4 to launch in March 2013 - a year after it launched the new iPad.
However, rumours are ripe that Apple is nearing completion on a smaller version of the iPad - possibly a 5" of 7" version - and this will come in Q3 of 2012. See 'iPad Mini' launching later this year.
Apple, as always, has refused to confirm or deny any rumours about its future products. PC Advisor's view is that it's very feasible that Apple could launch both. A more traditionally sizes iPad in March 2013, but also, possibly a smaller version of the iPad in Q3 of 2013 - as there seems to be a growing market for smaller tablets, and obviously Apple would like a piece of that pie. This rumour is backed up by an article in DigitTimes that in January, claimed the iPad 3 would launch in March and the iPad 4 would launch in October...
iPad 4 Specs
As mentioned above, the rumour mill seems to be going into overdrive about a smaller iPad launching in the near future. Exactly how much smaller though, seems to be the topic of debate.
In the article, they cite the well respected Japanese website Macotakara, which in turn is claiming the new 5-inch device will have a screen resolution of 1,600 x 960 or 1,280 x 690 pixels.
It's worth noting that the late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, said this in 2010 about the idea of a smaller version of the iPad "One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a ten-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The reason we won't make a seven-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a lower price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software."
7"iPad release date and rumours
However, the rumour that Apple was planning to release an iPad Mini, was backed up by Samsung of all companies. In March 2012, a Samsung official speaking to the Korea Times, let it slip that his company made a whopping $9.7 billion from Apple hardware contracts. More importunity he also said this about the idea of a smaller iPad hitting the market "The contract is expected to rise to $11 billion by the end of this year as Apple is planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen"
iPad 4 design
Attached to the 5-inch Apple iPad story by AppleInsider (mentioned above), was this picture. To us, it looks exactly like a squashed iPad...but maybe that's what a 5" iPad will look like.