‘iPad 3’: Rumors ramp up as March 7 event nears

Apple sent out invitations Tuesday for what’s expected to be an ‘iPad 3’ media event, and one analyst is saying that the new tablet may be “significant”thanks to rumored features. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reports:

Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee said in an analyst note Wednesday that it’s likely that the new iPad refresh will be “significant” and include several important new features, including a better display, faster processor and integration of Siri software.

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The key feature, Wu said, could be the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity, adding that his check-in with the supply chain indicates that Apple has taken pains to make sure that its 4G devices will have good battery life. The ability to use 4G networks has been a serious drain to batteries, which has proven to be a downside for Apple’s competitors.

“We continue to believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate” the tablet from competitors like the Kindle Fire, Wu wrote.

Retailers have already begun slashing the prices of Apple’s iPad 2 in anticipation of the event. The Verge reports:

It's like clockwork, really. When an updated Apple product looms on the horizon, prices for last year's model begin to plummet. The iPad 3 hasn't even been made official yet, and retailers are already taking some proactive steps to clear out inventory of its predecessor. Case in point: RadioShack. An internal company document provided to Engadget reveals that starting today, all iPad 2 models are seeing discounts between $20 and $50. The retailer's website confirms that the 16GB Wi-Fi configuration has been reduced by $20, with all other models receiving a $50 cut. Best Buy has also joined in on the fun, shaving $50 off all iPad 2 hardware this week (including the aforementioned base SKU). While Best Buy's rates are only temporary, all indications are that the new prices at RadioShack are permanent drops.

Still, we might recommend a bit more patience if you're looking for maximum savings on last year's Apple tablet. Retailers are likely to lower their asking price even further after the iPad 3's full reveal. For example, AT&T was unloading clearance 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G first-generation iPads for only $529 last March — that's $300 less than the original MSRP. You've gone this long without an iPad, after all. What's another few weeks?

The Apple event will take place March 7 at 10 a.m. PST. VentureBeat.com reports:

Apple’s heavily anticipated launch event for the iPad 3 tablet will take place on Wednesday, March 7th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, according to an e-mail we just received from Apple.

The image you see above shows the invite, so there’s no mistaking that this an iPad focused event. The iPad 3 has seen non-stop rumors and leaks for the past few weeks, but of course, it’s unclear how many of those rumors will actually pan out.

 
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