Apple introduces the new iPad: There were few surprises from Apple on Wednesday when it unveiled its latest iPad tablet, which the company hopes will maintain its hold on the tablet market and keep its gathering rivals at bay.

Many of the changes — a sharper screen and camera, 4G capability, a faster processor, and even the March 16 release date — had been on the speculation circuit for months. A couple of others — no new name and no Siri — were a little unexpected.

Either way, however, Apple left no doubt Wednesday that its latest tablet, priced at $499 and up, is aimed squarely at users who have unhooked themselves from the PC and are comfortable having a range of media devices to meet their growing and varying demands.

The new iPad also added support for 4G LTE networks on Verizon and AT&T.

Sprint, LightSquared: Sprint is reportedly considering whether to abandon its deal with LightSquared, which suffered a great setback last month when the Federal Communications Commission said it would not grant approval for the Reston, Va.-based company to launch its new network.

According to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg, the joint venture could be called off as early as next week. Sprint and LightSquared declined to comment on the report.

Google combines app stores into Google Play: Looking to compete more with online stores from Apple and Amazon, Google announced Wednesday that it was doing away with its Android Marketplace. Instead the company will combine its app store, ebookstore and music store into one market place called “Google Play,” reducing some fragmentation and promising users access to their content from anywhere.

Apple faces fresh S. Korean lawsuit: As the company launches the next generation of its iPad tablet, Apple is facing a new lawsuit from Samsung in South Korea. The suit, according to Reuters, alleges that Apple has infringed on its patents with the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

The suit reportedly covers three Samsung patents. Apple and Samsung have filed more than 30 patent disputes in 10 countries.

Anonymous claims it hit Vatican, security firm: Anonymous, the activist hacking collective, claimed responsibility Wednesday for taking down Web sites run by the Vatican. The attack came just a day after the FBI announced it had arrested five people allegedly affiliated with the collective, perhaps as an attempt to show that the movement would continue in spite of the arrests.

The Vatican Web site was inaccessible around 3:30 p.m., Eastern time on Wednesday.

Hackers claiming an association with the group also attacked the security firm PandaLabs, posting a rant accusing the firm of helping the FBI arrest 25 members of the group last month, The Washington Post reported.

Universal, EMI: Public Knowledge and the Media Access Project have asked the Federal Trade Commission to evaluate the proposed deal between Universal Music Group and EMI, saying that the deal has the “potential to thwart innovation in digital music.”

In a statement, the groups said that the agreement, combined with the sale of EMI’s music publishing business to Sony, would put the digital music industry under the control of the “whims” of two major companies, Universal and Sony.