Apple could be gearing up to unveil the next-generation iPad March 2, according to an All Things D report. If that holds true, then media invitations should be imminent.
All Things D's Kara Swisher is basing that March 2 date on unnamed "multiple sources." A little later Feb. 22, The New York Times reported that Apple will indeed use March 2 to unveil the next iPad. Neither source offered a date for when the device will hit store shelves, nor whether Apple CEO Steve Jobs-currently out on medical leave-will take the stage for the big unveiling.
Previous rumors had pegged a March unveiling date for the tablet. In a Feb. 9 posting, Daring Fireball's John Gruber circulated a theory in which Apple whipped the curtain away from the iPad 2 sometime in March, ahead of an early-April shipping window, and then followed that up with an iPad 3 in September.
"How could Apple release a third-generation iPad just six months or so after the second one?" he wrote. "Maybe it won't be an actual next-generation model. Maybe it's more like an iPad 2.5, or iPad 2 Pro."
Despite existing purely as guesswork, Gruber's posting was quickly picked up and circulated by media and blogs. That alone speaks to how white-hot the iPad rumors have become ahead of the device's possible unveiling. Apple's refusal to comment on upcoming products, combined with a steady flow of "leaks" from anonymous sources, regularly drives bloggers and analysts into a frenzy of speculation-which in turn gives Apple untold dollars' worth of free marketing.
Current iPad theories suggest the device will be lighter and smaller than the original, with a front-facing camera for video conferencing, more memory and a boosted graphics processor. Some reports have suggested the device will lack a Retina Display or similar high-resolution screen. "Our sources say Apple has requested that manufacturers begin work on displays with that resolution for the iPad 3," IDC research manager Tom Mainelli told PC World, following a DigiTimes report that the next iPad would boast a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536.
Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010, creating a consumer tablet market that other competitors-ranging from Research In Motion to Hewlett-Packard to Samsung-are starting to enter in ever greater numbers. Whenever Apple finally introduces its next-generation iPad, the device will compete with Samsung's Galaxy Tab, RIM's PlayBook, Motorola's Xoom and Dell's Streak 7. Many of these run Google Android, although both RIM and Hewlett-Packard are developing tablets with proprietary operating systems designed to make them stand out from the crowd.