An iOS application developer sifting through their analytics (device type, iOS version etc.) has noticed an unknown iPad3,6 listing pointing to a new breed of Apple’s tablet computer.
Sent to MacRumors this weekend, the information includes the device's processor, which is said to be based on the new ARMv7s architecture. The technical details support a theory that this device is running Apple’s A6 system-on-a-chip introduced this year with the iPhone 5.
The "iPad3,6" designation points not to the rumored iPad mini (which is expected to come with the iPad2,5 moniker), but rather to the regular line of iPads currently sold by Apple (designated as "iPad3,1", "iPad3,2", and "iPad3,3" in developer logs).
The finding is most intriguing amid rumors of Apple planning to release a tweaked version of the current-generation iPad to include the Lightning dock connector and other improvements.
However, the processor bump would be a good excuse to make this tablet the iPad 4. And Apple isn’t likely to launch it until Spring 2013.
As for the rumored iPad mini, Apple is said to be making this new tablet with parts from the iPad 2, including the A5 processor. In any case, the A6 SoC is excluded from any upcoming new releases or updates in the next couple of months.
So the question remains - what is this new iPad? Perhaps the device really is Apple’s fourth-generation iPad that is now going through the internal testing stages.
Any application sending similar logs back to its developer can spot it, though it can well be a prototype unit that may not even see the light of day.
For now, all eyes are on October 10, when Apple is said to invite the media to a second planned event for this autumn, this time to unveil the new iPad mini.
Based on the latest leaks and mockup artistry, the gadget has immense potential.