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iPad 3 Launch on March 7

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The iPad 3 is almost here. Apple has announced an event on March 7, 2012 at which the company is expected to launch its latest iPad tablet.   ”We have something you really have to see. And touch,” read the invitation, which continues Apple’s tradition of keeping its invitation text cryptic. The invitation to the event, which takes place next Wednesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, shows part of an iPad screen, with a finger poised over the Calendar app, which is set to March 7. If the background is a photograph of the iPad 3 and not digitally manipulated, it hints that the tablet will not sport a physical home button, as have earlier iPads.    The iPad line of tablet computers, which first launched in 2010, has sold over 55 million units worldwide.   By comparison, it took Apple 22 years to sell the same number of Mac computers, five years to sell that many iPods, and three years to sell that many iPhones.   It is not yet known when the new device will be available for sale, although last year, sales of the iPad 2 began in the US nine days after the launch’s March announcement.

The mention of something “you really have to see” could be a reference to greatly improved screen resolution on the new device. The next iPad is rumored to display twice as many pixels as the iPad 2, a screen resolution that Apple has branded a “Retina display” on the iPhone.   Other rumored possibilities for the next iPad, beyond expected upgrades to the processor and the camera, include a version that is compatible with high-speed 4G cellular networks.   It would be the first 4G mobile device from Apple, which has so far resisted them in part because 4G connections typically wreak havoc on devices’ battery life. The iPad’s large battery could make it the first 4G device to reliably withstand a day of use.  Thanks to Free iPads in Chicago for this update.

Another tantalizing possibility for budget-conscious shoppers: Analysts expect Apple to continue production of the iPad 2 and cut the price. It’s a strategy Apple has pursued profitably with its iPhone, where last year’s model remains in production but sells for $100 or so less than the new one. Next week’s event will mark the first product launch since the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The visionary behind many of the company’s best-selling products died in October, a day after the unveiling of the iPhone 4S.



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