Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

A new report suggests Apple will unveil a third-generation iPad on March 7. (DON EMMERT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Uncertainty over health costs curbing small business hiring:

Nearly half of small business owners who are not hiring new employees say worries about the cost of health care and new government regulations are the reasons they are not adding workers, according to a new Gallup Poll released Wednesday. One in four are not hiring because they worry they may not be in business in 12 months.

Retail sales miss expectations: Sales at United States retailers rose less than forecast last month, dragged down by an unexpected drop in car purchases. The 0.4 percent gain was half the 0.8 percent forecast by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, however, purchases excluding car dealers climbed 0.7 percent, the biggest gain since March.

San Francisco home to the most self-employed: The latest census data show that one of every 15 employees run their own unincorporated businesses, and the San Francisco region has the highest self-employment rate of any major metropolitan market (9.3 percent of the local workforce). The market with the smallest rate of self-employment is Virginia Beach-Norfolk (4.4 percent).

Small business optimism inches up: The National Federation of Independent Business’s small business optimism index inched up by the smallest of margins — just 0.1 point — in January, marking the fifth consecutive month of improvement. However, the index remains at recession levels and continues to trail 2011 levels.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Apple iPad 3 rumors swirling: The blog iMore on Tuesday reported that Apple is planning its next launch event for March 7, citing sources “who have been reliable in the past.” The Wall Street Journal has also reported that the next iPad will come with 4G LTE connectivity, citing “people familiar with the matter” who say that Verizon and AT&T will be selling the 4G tablets.

Googorola deal moves ahead:Antitrust officials approved Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility on Monday, clearing the way for the search giant to not only manufacture its own phones but also, more importantly, gain a much bigger patent portfolio.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to employ the best digital marketing tactics (OSB)

How to build a business blog following (Open Forum)

How to bring employees into the conversation (NY Times)

How to save money in the retail industry (Small Biz Trends)

How to avoid common Twitter etiquette mistakes (NIFB)