iPad 3 to debut March 7, feature LTE support, reports claim

Hardware expert agrees that Apple will -- must -- make move on LTE this year

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According to iMore.com, Apple will launch the iPad 3 on March 7.

The date, a Wednesday, fits earlier buzz that Apple will launch its next tablet the first week of March, and matches previous debuts.

March 7 is a Wednesday, the same day of the week that Apple used in 2011 to reveal the iPad 2. Apple also unveiled the original iPad on a Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010.

The two previous launches were hosted by then-CEO Steve Jobs, who died last year at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. If Apple follows past practice, Cook will take the stage this year.

The date, however, will not be confirmed until Apple sends invitations to media outlets, bloggers and research firms.

Apple typically keeps invitations to such events on a tight leash, releasing them just a week before the event. Assuming March 7 is accurate, Apple would probably issue invitations on Feb. 29, or two weeks from tomorrow.

Most experts believe the iPad 3 will feature a higher-resolution screen, a faster processor -- perhaps Apple's first quad-core -- and more internal memory. The tablet will probably continue to carry price tags starting at $499.

If Apple does introduce an LTE-capable iPad, the lowest-price would likely be $629, the current cost of an 3G iPad 2.

The introduction of the iPad 3 should help push Apple's tablet sales to 11.3 million for the first quarter, up 140% from the 4.7 million the company sold in the same period last year, according to forecasts by Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall of International Strategy & Investment Group (ISI).

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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