iPad 3 on track for early-mid March release

Apple will reportedly introduce the iPad in early March, followed by a release about one week later

It's that time of year again, folks. With March fast approaching, the iPad 3 rumors continue to roll in with increased frequency. And while some iPad 3 features remain open to speculation, we now have an idea as to when we might expect Apple to launch its next-gen tablet.

Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, John Paczkowski of All Things D reported on Thursday that Apple is planning to hold a special iPad 3 event during the first week of March.

Sources say the company has chosen the first week in March to debut the successor to the iPad 2, and will do so at one of its trademark special events. The event will be held in San Francisco, presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple’s preferred location for big announcements like these. No word yet on a street date for the iPad 3 (assuming that’s what it’s called), though my guess is retail availability will follow roughly the same schedule as that of the iPad 2: Available for purchase a week or so after the event.

Now March 1 lands on a Thursday, and Apple has historically introduced new products on either Tuesday or Wednesday. That said, imagine the iPad 3 event will occur on Monday March, 5 at the earliest with the actual launch to happen sometime during the week of March 12-16. And seeing as how Apple has an affinity towards Friday launch dates, March 16 is looking like a good bet right about now. Admittedly, this is all pure conjecture, but Apple tends to follow a certain pattern with regards to product announcements and release dates.

Launch-date guesswork aside, what can we expect to see in the iPad 3?

Well, a 2048x1536 Retina Display is essentially a guarantee. And with that type of screen resolution toiling away, some reports have hinted at a slightly thicker form factor to accommodate a larger battery. Apple's A6 processor is also expected to be part of the iPad 3 package while previous rumors have pointed to the inclusion of an HD camera on the back and an improved camera on the front. The big wild card, though, remains 4G and whether or not Apple is willing to jump on that bandwagon just yet.

Either way, things are looking up for Apple. The company just enjoyed their most profitable quarter in history, and with the iPad 3, iPhone 5, and potentially an Apple HDTV, all on the horizon, Apple still has lots of room to grow.

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