Not an hour goes by without someone firing some stupid at the internet regarding the iPad 3, so I thought I’d smash out a quick post to help tech journalists (or journalists writing about tech—despite not really using tech—because their editor heard that this “iPad thing is probably going to be quite big, and can therefore get us page views, even though it’s not really a perfect fit for Pretty Gardens Monthly”) about the revamped device.

Here’s what we currently know for sure about the iPad 3:

  • It almost certainly exists and will most likely be revealed on Wednesday.

That’s it. Anything else you care to write about is pure conjecture and you’re fuelling the rumour mill. Worse, you’re getting people’s hopes up by spreading rumours that they will then use to smack Apple with once the realisation dawns that the engineers and designers in Cupertino aren’t in fact wizards conjuring unicorns, but are instead folk simply figuring out how to make a really great tablet.

And here’s what we don’t know for sure:

  • The device’s name. iPad 3? iPad HD? iPad 2S? We simply don’t know.
  • The amount of storage the device will have. We simply don’t know.
  • The screen the new device will have. 1024-by-768? 2048-by-1536? We simply don’t know.
  • The form factor and what buttons the device will have. We simply don’t know.
  • What connectivity the device will include. We simply don’t know.
  • What OS the device will run and what new features it will have. We simply don’t know.
  • The full model line-up and whether it will include the iPad 2 at the low-end. We simply don’t know.
  • What quality cameras the device will include. We simply don’t know.

And so on.

Some of these guesses (and until we see the device unveiled, that’s what they are—guesses) are more likely than others. A ‘Retina’ display is a logical evolutionary upgrade that would bring the iPad into line with other iOS devices, in terms of the smoothness of displayed content (which is particularly great for reading, but also for games and many apps). Conversely, I think it’s staggeringly unlikely that we’ll see major changes to the device’s form factor and physical components—its dimensions, the Home button, and the bezel, for example. But the thing is we simply don’t know.

I’d have more respect for publications that simply admitted this simple fact, rather than continually churning out coverage of every tiny rumour that’s spat out by unreliable and anonymous ‘sources’, then conveniently forgetting poor track records (both of the sources and their own articles) when the next Apple device update looms.