As we get closer to the expected launch of Apple’s next iPad, reports about the device and when it will launch continue to build.

One report taking the rumor mill by storm comes from the blog iMore’s Rene Ritchie, who says that Apple’s planning its next launch event for March 7. Ritchie cites sources “who have been reliable in the past.”

The timing was confirmed with a “Yep” by the Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, who’s known for being well sourced at Apple.

So, Apple watchers: It sounds like you can circle March 7 in your planners, but — because it’s still an Apple rumor — I’d recommend you still do it in pencil.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the next iPad will come with 4G LTE connectivity. The Journal’s report cites the usual “people familiar with the matter” who say that Verizon and AT&T will be selling the 4G tablets.

The ability to connect to 4G networks is one of the biggest wish-list items for iPad buyers, though including that capability would likely cut into the iPad’s battery life. It would also, the report notes, put a greater burden on wireless carriers who already say that their networks have trouble handling heavy data use.

The latest report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple is testing iPads with a smaller screen, meaning it could eventually follow competitors such as Amazon and Samsung down the path of a smaller screen — something that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said would diminish the utility of a tablet.

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