iPad 3: 10 Key Factors That Will Drive Sales

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's iPad 3 could be launched as early as March. And when it does debut, its success or failure will depend on several key factors.

Apple's iPad3 is right around the corner. In fact, the latest rumors suggest Apple will be holding a special event unveiling its next slate in early March, and the device could launch soon after the official unveiling. In addition, those rumors say Apple's iPad 3 could come in a few different screen sizes, include 4G connectivity and deliver a bit more storage than its predecessor. In many ways, the iPad 3 could become the device consumers had hoped to find with the iPad 2.

Given that, it's quite likely that the iPad 3 will be a huge success. Like its predecessors, it'll likely get off to an exceedingly strong start, and continue to sell well until its replaced by the iPad 4. What we don't know now, however, is to what degree the iPad 3 will be successful. Will it set new sales records like the iPad 2 did, or will it be only a mediocre success that forces Apple to rethink its strategy?

If Apple wants strong iPad3 sales, it'll need to make several right decisions, and capitalize on market factors that could either help the tablet's adoption or hurt it. To understand this, here's a look at 10 specific trends that could impact sales of the iPad 3.

1. 4G or no?

The future of mobile connectivity is in 4G. And there is rampant speculation that the iPad 3 will support 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology. If it does, expect Apple's next tablet to be a success. However, if it lacks 4G and it becomes something consumers are really looking for, iPad 3 sales could be hurt.

2. Is the design different enough?

Apple is expected to deliver an impressive new design in the iPad3. In fact, all the hype surrounding the device centers on a unique new look that consumers are going to love. But what if Apple ditches those plans and offers up something we've seen before? There's a chance iPad 3 sales will suffer.

3. What's the selling point?

In many cases, Apple doesn't need to make such a convincing argument to make people buy its products. At this point, if an Apple logo is affixed to a device, it'll be popular. But with so many people buying the iPad 2 last year, getting them to spend an additional $500 or more won't be so easy. Apple will have to make a strong selling point with the iPad 3, or watch it lose some steam.

4. China

China has quickly become a key battleground for Apple. The country, with a population exceeding 1 billion people, has become the company's second-largest market. Soon, if Apple can ink an iPhone deal with China Mobile, China could become its largest market. As long as the iPad 3 gets to China and consumers like it, there's a good chance we'll see record-breaking sales of the device, no matter what Apple delivers.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...