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Apple expected to unveil new iPad
[February 29, 2012]

Apple expected to unveil new iPad

Feb 29, 2012 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The tech tea leaves have been voraciously read. Now we're about to find out if all those rumors about the iPad 3 are true.

Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday sent out invitations to a "Special Event" on March 7. In its first major launch since the death last fall of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the company is expected to unveil the third generation of its hugely popular tablet at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

If the consensus predictions of analysts and bloggers are accurate, the new iPad will have a higher-resolution screen, a better camera, 4G LTE wireless capability, a pumped-up processor and a design similar to but a tad thicker than the iPad 2.

"It's arguably one of the world's worst-kept secrets," Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said of the new iPad 3. Wu and his colleagues, along with anyone else with even a passing interest in Apple products, have been scouring the blogosphere, dissecting supply-chain movements and poring over online photographs of alleged components of the new tablet. And many of them expect the third iPad to be a showstopper.

"It'll likely be another 10-inch screen and still have a home button, but it'll have this higher-resolution display, probably be faster, and have a better camera," said Andrew Murphy, a research analyst with Piper Jaffray. "We think the new iPad will be priced the same as the iPad 2, starting at $499. And while on the outside it'll look similar to its predecessor, we think that once you turn it on and use it, it will have a lot of the wow factor that people are looking for." Much of that wow will literally be in the eye of the person holding the iPad: It's called Retina Display, and this same double-strength dose of pixels that iPhone users currently enjoy could bring astonishing new clarity to the new iPad's screen. Jobs claimed that Apple's "Retina Display" screen served up an abundance of pixels that when viewed from 12 inches away constitute the maximum amount of detail that the human retina can perceive, although others dispute that.

Tea-leaf-reading fanboys found plenty of tantalizing hints as they studied Apple's email invitation to the event, which featured a picture of an iPad with what looks like a high-resolution screen and the tag line, "We have something you really have to see." In addition to more screen clarity, the new iPad is widely expected to feature 4G LTE, an updated wireless standard that will allow users to download data much faster than they could on previous models of the Apple tablet. Press reports earlier this month, quoting people familiar with the matter, said Verizon and AT&T would sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on these newest fourth-generation wireless networks.

In the past year, other tablet makers, including Samsung and Amazon, have released tablets far more affordable than the iPad in an attempt to catch up with Apple. But analyst Brian Marshall with ISI Group, who's spending this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, sampling the latest offerings, said the iPad 3 will only help Apple get further ahead of its rivals.

"I've been looking at all the new tablets out there," he said by telephone Tuesday morning from Spain, "and while there are some extremely impressive Android-based devices, I don't think any of them have any real advantages over Apple. Their lead is already solidified. The iPad 3 will simply extend it even more." A new and more powerful iPad could expand the burgeoning universe of American adults who regularly use tablets to access their news and entertainment, said news industry analyst Ken Doctor, author of "Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get." The new iPad, as well as the overall growth in the use of tablets for reading "is changing the business strategies of publishers, media outlets and other content providers in a huge way," he said. "Within two years, the tablet will evolve from simply a popular gadget and become a device for the masses to consume entertainment, news and information." Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689 or follow him at ___ (c)2012 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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