iPad 3 Might Feature iOS 6, 'HD' Name

Apple's next iPad might feature "HD" in its name, and include a major update to iOS, which one blog terms "iOS 6."

Apple's next iPad could arrive with the moniker "iPad HD."

That information comes from the blog Gizmodo, which cited a reader-supplied parts listing from accessories manufacturers Griffin and Belkin.

For months, media and tech pundits have used "iPad 3" to describe Apple's next-generation tablet. Apple is hosting a March 7 event in San Francisco where the device will almost certainly be unveiled. Rumored features include a high-resolution Retina Display (hence the possible "HD" name), a more powerful processor and an improved camera. "We have something you really have to see. And touch," read the invitation sent to the media for the event, which included an image of a finger touching the calendar app on an iPad screen.

Sources such as Apple Insider suggest that the next iPad could also feature 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support and a significant update to iOS€”which the blog terms "iOS 6."

Whatever its name, the next iPad will enter the market in a dominant position over its competitors, which for the moment include a host of Google Android tablets and Research In Motion's PlayBook. However, that landscape will change by the end of 2012, when Microsoft and its manufacturing partners are expected to debut a host of tablets loaded with the upcoming Windows 8.

On Feb. 29, Microsoft unveiled the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The choice of venue spoke volumes: Microsoft clearly intends for the upcoming operating system to become the next heavyweight in mobile computing.

Moreover, Microsoft dearly wants to compete with Apple in the realm of mobile apps. For months, its executives have been encouraging third-party developers to consider creating apps for Windows 8, claiming the hundreds of millions of Windows users will prove a lucrative customer base.

But Apple already has a significant head start in that area, with an app store containing hundreds of thousands of offerings. In an attempt to further sweeten the proposition, Microsoft executives have been talking for months about how Windows 8 will supposedly provide a "no compromises" experience closer to what users find on a desktop than a traditional tablet€”albeit, one that also comes with a mobile device's lightweight UI.

Can the next iPad compete with Microsoft's attempts to meld the best of PCs with tablets? That's the question. But it's indisputable that Apple retains a hefty lead in the category, with Microsoft decidedly in the underdog position. Apple's executives are betting that the next iPad will widen that competitive gap.

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