New Apple iPad running iOS 6?

Even as Apple Inc. counts down to the launch of its latest iPad tablet, a tech site has reported signs of an iPad with a high-resolution display running iOS 6.

Here's the intriguing part: Ars Technica said its server logs showed the traces of the possible new iPad came from —where else?— Apple Inc.

"We don't think Apple plans to release iOS 6 along with a new iPad this month, but it seems clear that the next major version of the operating system is on the way. (It's more likely that Apple will release iOS 5.1 to the public when the next iPad hits the streets.) We're willing to guess that we might end up seeing a preview of the new OS on Wednesday, however, with a release date sometime later in the year to coincide with a next-gen iPhone release," Ars Technica said.

It said the web logs hint employees at Apple may already be using the so-called iPad 3, possibly running iOS 6, to surf the Web ahead of an expected Apple announcement on March 7.

Ars Technica said it stumbled on the discovery while digging through its logs in preparation for its monthly browser stat report.

At least 365 visits to Ars Technca appeared to be from a device with a screen resolution of 2048x1536 — the exact rumored "Retina" resolution of the iPad 3.

"(T)here are very few devices in current use that have this same resolution. (There is a $5,000 NEC display for medical use with that resolution)," it said.

Apple's corporate IP block

On the other hand, a look at iPad user agents coming from Apple's corporate IP block in Cupertino showed Apple appears to be surfing the Web using iPads running what looks like iOS 6.0.

"The whole listing shows iPads running iOS 5, iOS 5.0.1 (the current public release), iOS 5.1 (the upcoming release currently available to developers), and iOS 6. The iPads that appear to be running iOS 6 are also using a slightly newer build of WebKit—the older OSes all show WebKit 534.46, while the ones claiming to be iOS 6 show WebKit build 535.8," Ars Technica said.

iOS 6 on iPhones too?

Another tech site, Mashable, reported similar visits by what appeared to be iPads running iOS 6.

"Mashable checked its own logs and indeed found a few visits from devices claiming to be running iOS 6. Some claim to be iPhones and others iPads. Checking the IP address info of those visits with an online database revealed they came from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California," it said.

However, Mashable said the only machines with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution seen in Mashable‘s logs were running Google Chrome, "so they couldn’t be iPads."

Mashable also noted it is impossible for Apple to keep everything it’s doing under wraps.

"It needs to test its products in real-world environments to ensure that the work properly. That can lead to information being released prematurely, which most notoriously happened when an Apple employee lost a prototype iPhone in a bar in 2010 only to have it fall into the hands of tech blog Gizmodo," it said. — TJD, GMA News

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