Apple will unveil the iPad 3 at a high-profile March event in San Francisco, reported AllThingsD.
No word yet on a street date for the iPad 3 (assuming that s what it s called), noted the Feb. 9 report, which relied on the ever-popular unnamed sources. Those sources apparently confirmed that the next-generation tablet will boast a similar look to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048x1536 Retina Display or something close to it.
Rumors of those features have circulated for some weeks. In a Feb. 1 posting, the Boy Genius Report also suggested the iPad 3 will feature an A6 processor. That information likewise came from an unnamed source, who provided the blog with screenshots of output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot. Based on those screens, the iPad 3 will come in two versions: one with WiFi only and one with WiFi and embedded GSM/CDMA/LTE for all carriers.
In the last quarter alone, Apple managed to sell some 15.43 million iPads. The company will expect any new tablet release to continue that blockbuster sales run. Moreover, that massive sales volume is apparently affecting other products in Apple's hardware ecosystem.
There is cannibalization clearly of the Mac by the iPad, but we continue to believe there is much more cannibalization of Windows PCs by the iPad, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts and media listening to the company s Jan. 24 earnings call, and there s many more of them to cannibalize. And so we love that trend.
As a whole, the iPad franchise enters 2012 in a particularly strong market position. Throughout 2011, other tablets have plunged into the tablet arena with huge advertising budgets and the stated aim of becoming an iPad killer, only to find apathetic customers and a general lack of buzz.
"Our checks indicate modest sales of most competing tablet offerings including the Motorola Xyboard, RIM PlayBook, HTC View 4G, Samsung Galaxy tab and several other Android-based devices," T. Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a Jan. 24 research note. "Also consistent with our checks, the Amazon Kindle Fire did not adversely impact iPad sales but more likely had a greater impact on e-reader sales."
Later in 2012, Apple will likely face a tablet challenge from Microsoft and its manufacturing partners, who could market a host of touch-screen devices loaded with the upcoming Windows 8. Whatever features are included with the iPad 3, they will need to prove capable of beating back that challenge, in addition to keeping Android at bay.