Apple has decided to schedule a big media event for the first week of March to show off the iPad 3, reports AllThingsD. Citing sources familiar with Apple's plans, AllThingsD says that the event will likely be held in San Francisco, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where Apple typically holds big product launches.
Timing for the retail availability of the actual device itself is expected to follow one to two weeks after the event.
As for details about the device itself, AllThingsD's John Paczkowski wrote, "sources say it will be pretty much what we've been led to expect by the innumerable reports leading up to its release: A device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048x1536 Retina display."
Photos that purport to be components of the iPad 3 have been spied recently, and more or less confirm these details. The back cover was recently photographed and revealed that the device itself will be a little bit thicker than the iPad 2--most likely to accommodate a larger battery.
[ What's on your wish list? iPad 3: 5 Changes I Want. ]
Other potential changes revealed by the leaked back cover indicate that the motherboard will be a different shape due to altered placement of anchors. It also appears that a different camera module will be used (and hopefully a better one). Beyond these suppositions, details are fairly scarce.
While these hardware improvements all sound about right, the biggest missing piece of the puzzle is 4G broadband support. Will the iPad 3 ship with LTE 4G on board? The nation's two largest network operators--AT&T and Verizon Wireless--both have growing LTE 4G networks around the country.
A year ago--at the Verizon iPhone 4 debut--Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Verizon version of the iPhone 4 didn't have LTE because it would cause the company to make changes to the design that it wasn't prepared to make. That was several generations of LTE technology ago, especially with respect to antenna design.
Considering the size of the iPad and the battery power it packs, there's no excuse to leave this critical feature out. Most of the competition (HTC, Motorola, Samsung) already has LTE tablets for sale.
LTE 4G is the must-have feature for the iPad 3.
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