One indisputably good thing: No more rumours about the date of the iPad 3 announcement. As the iOSphere now knows, it's 7 March in the Golden State.

And that means, we have eight days left. Plenty of time for more rumours about everything else.

This week, open your eyes to the Retina Display, close your ears to the thunder of Chinese jets, expect to pay more, and Adobe finally gets real.

You read it here second.


"The problem, of course, is that there is simply no way to know where the pricing sheet came from, let alone its legitimacy."     ~ Bryan Chaffin, The Mac Observer, lamenting the limits of knowledge, which didn't prevent The Mac Observer from taking note of a new iPad 3 rumor.


iPad 3 will have Retina Display, because it's right before our eyes

The official Apple invitation for the March 7 event is the basis for what is probably the first post-invitation rumor: The photo in the invite shows an iPad with a high-resolution Apple Retina Display.

The keen eyes at SlashGear discerned this.

"Take a look at the invite graphic Apple included -- complete with the tagline 'We have something you really have to see. And touch' -- and the on-screen graphics certainly look smoother and more precise than what the current 1024 x 768 iPad 2 offers."

We can soon expect attempts by blogs and tech sites to photo the same area of the iPad 2 at the same angle, post a comparison, do lots of pixel manipulation and stuff, and debate the results until March 7.

It's going to be a long nine days.

Most rumors about the new iPad's display have it at least doubling the iPad 2's pixels, but that would still make it less, in pixels per inch, than that of the iPhone 4S. So it may depend on how Apple defines "Retina Display." There are other technologies, or some combination of them, that Apple could use to improve resolution without matching the pixel density of the 4S.

MacRumors last week said it "had obtained" a 9.7-inch display "claimed to be for the iPad 3 and this week asked to do something cool with it." MacRumors, "through microscopic analysis," confirmed that the obtained display was indeed twice the linear resolution and four times the pixel total of iPad 2. "Last week, we reported that we had been able to obtain a 9.7-inch display claimed to be for the iPad 3, confirming through microscopic analysis that the display offers twice the linear resolution and four times the total number of pixels as the iPad 2. Alas, iFixit failed to power up the obtained screen even trying to connect it to the innards of an iPad 2."

iPad 3 will be more expensive

MacRumors called this, somewhat redundantly, an unverified rumor, specifically by a Chinese microblogging site called Sina Weibo.

The Chinese site posted tables that showed price comparisons between iPad 2 and iPad 3, and lo and behold, the Next iPhone is listed as $80 more expensive than the iPad 2 Wi-Fi models and $70 dollars more than the 3G iPad models.

So the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 3 will cost you $579 instead of the more affordable $499, according to MacRumors.

Macrumors ruminates that "Apple is believed to be upgrading the iPad 3 to a 2048x1536 'Retina' display, which could account for some price increase to the iPad 3." Bigger, or in this case, more, and better. So of course it would cost more. Just makes sense.

The Mac Observer's Bryan Chaffin reports on MacRumors' reporting of the unverified rumor of a price hike and decides the "real problem" is figuring out who's behind the price sheet. "The problem, of course, is that there is simply no way to know where the pricing sheet came from, let alone its legitimacy," he says. "It could be a hoped for pricing matrix from a retailer hoping to carry the device, or it could have been put together by someone with access to a spreadsheet, a printer, and a few extra minutes of spare time on their hands."

One could add an infinity of other "it could be's" and yet the lack of legitimacy is almost a requirement for successful rumoring in the iOSsphere.

Chaffin is cheerful about the price increase and thinks you should be, too. "That much more real estate for $80 could well be a hit with consumers," he predicts.

iPad 3 is near because Best Buy is discounting and Chinese jets are flying

"In what is likely preparation for the launch of the iPad 3, Best Buy is now offering a $50 discount on all current-gen iPads," enthuses Scott Lowe at IGN U.K. edition.

There's not much to add once you've said that.

A much more interesting rumor is the one that Chinese jets are being secretly (though apparently not secretly enough) loaded with iPad 3 units and carrying them to the U.S.

9to5Mac peruses the same foreign language sites as MacRumors and found the unverified lads at Sina Weibo also were posting about the iPads leavin', leavin' on a jet plane.

And 9t5Mac helpfully re-posted the picture: taken at night, bathed in airport light, cargo bays yawning open, guys standing around, some kind of covered uh thing next to the plane.

That could be a photo taken from almost any cargo operation at thousands of airports in the last five years. There's no iPad 3 insight. There's nothing in the photo that remotely connects it to anything Apple.

But. There is documentary evidence, at least under the iOSsphere Rules of Evidence. 9to5Mac says the Weibo poster put up an image of "shipping document" -- which CNET improves, or twists, into "shipping manifest" -- that a Chinese reader of 9to5 helpfully translated thusly: "In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot."

The machine translation of the Weibo posting, according to 9to5Mac, reveals that "Friends broke the news." The news included details of the flight plan for not only the anonymous jet in the picture but a handful of others, roaring into the smog-filled skies of Red China with their precious cargo bound for the capitalist citadels of the West, including Chicago, New York City and, of course, Cupertino.

That's the Romance of Technology, 21st century style.

iPad 3 is near because Adobe just released an iPad app

"Adobe Photoshop Touch Arrives Ahead of iPad 3 Release Date & Announcement," and if that isn't a herald for iPad 3, what is?

The APPera's James Isabel was the discerning eye and mind that made the connection too subtle for the rest up.

"Some years after Steve Jobs and Apple flatly denied Flash off iOS, it looks like Adobe has fully embraced this fact and has brought one of their most popular softwares to the iPad," he writes. "Adobe Photoshop Touch [on iTunes] is now out for $9.99."

"I think this will be especially useful in the upcoming iPad 3 because of its retina display. Imagine high res images edited through touch? This is a game changer," Isabel declares.

Well, at least he didn't say it was radical. This all seems a bit labored as a theory. It suggests that to a man, Adobe employees from the CEO down to software engineers were either so PO'd at Apple or were so dumbfounded that anyone would ban Flash, that it took them five, as in 5, years to accept that Steve Jobs meant what he said, and only then did they decide "Hey, it would be a good idea if our software apps were on the iPad."