The air is thick with rumors about the next iPad, with All Things Digital’s report that a launch event is coming in the first week of March.

Over at the New York Times, the report is that it’s not clear if the device Apple’s said to be introducing in March will be called the iPad 3.

According to an unnamed (and brave!) Apple employee who spoke to the paper, the next iPad will be essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2, but with a better screen.

Anyone else having echoes of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S?

If the changes to the iPad aren’t revolutionary, it’s possible that its name will reflect that as well. There’s already been speculation that the tablet will be called the iPad HD or, as CNet said — perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek — the iPad 2S.

The rumor that the new tablet, whatever it’s called, will have a better screen is still the speculated to be the biggest difference between the new iPad and the current one. According to the unnamed Apple employee, the screen will be “truly amazing.”

Another rumor has surfaced on the blog for Repair Labs, a Web site that fixes Apple products, saying that sources in China have sent them pictures of the next iPad’s casing. The pictures, they say, hint that the next tablet could have a bigger battery with a longer life, a different camera and at least hints at the fact that the screen would be different.

The case photos also seem to cast doubt on the rumor that the iPad will be a little bit thicker, the blog said.

Time will tell, of course, how many of these rumors bear fruit and rumors will only start flying faster as we get closer to the rumored launch event.

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