New A6-based iPad shows up in developer’s app analytics

With this year’s iPhone launch now behind us, and the current-gen iPad now past the halfway point in its 12-month life cycle, we knew it was only a matter of time before we started hearing rumors regarding the next iPad. And a juicy one just hit the web.

According to a new report, an iOS developer has spotted an interesting new Apple device in his app analytics log. It’s labeled as an “iPad3,6,” and appears to be running an A6 chip or some sort of variation of it. What is it? Well, it could just be a fourth-gen iPad…

From MacRumors:

MacRumors has received word from a developer who has seen evidence of a previously unknown “iPad3,6″ device showing up in his app analytics. Most interestingly, the device’s processor targets the new ARMv7s architecture that supports the custom A6 system-on-a-chip found in the iPhone 5. This new iPad thus appears to be running either an A6 chip itself or a variation on Apple’s custom A6 design.”

As the site points out, this device could be representative of something else other than the next-generation iPad. For instance, Apple is expected to unveil an iPad mini within the next few weeks. But that tablet is rumored to house iPad 2 internals, which means an A5 chip.

There’s also been talk of Apple releasing a modified third-gen tablet to address overheating issues and to add Lightning support — and the “iPad3,6” label does seem like the device would be a variation of the current-gen model. But an A6 chip doesn’t really make sense here.

No, the more likely scenario here, if there is one, is that this is Apple’s next generation iPad. And at this point, we know nothing about it. This year, the big features of the new tablet were the addition of LTE and the upgraded Retina display. What will next year’s be?