The world's most valuable company, Apple Inc. (AAPL: Quote), is likely to unveil the latest version of its iPad tablet on March 7, as per speculations in the media.
For past some weeks now, the media was rife with speculations and rumors that Apple would launch its iPad 3 early March, as the earlier versions were also launched in the same day of the week in 2010 and 2011.
Apple on Tuesday issued invitations to the media for an event next Wednesday, March 7, although there were no indications as to what the event pertained to. The invite read, "We have something you really have to see. And touch," with a picture presumed to be the latest iPad, dubbed as iPad 3 by the media.
The iPad event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the same venue where the company unveiled the previous two iPads. The event will mark Apple's first product launch without its co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011.
Apple has not revealed the name of its latest iPad or anything about its features or price. Nevertheless, industry experts and analysts expect iPad 3 to house a faster processor, maybe Apple's first quad core processor. The iPad 3 could also include retina display, possibly with a resolution of 2048-by-1536 pixels. The iPad 2 offers a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Consumers also expect the iPad to support the faster LTE, or long term evolution, data networks.
The new features would likely help Apple to maintain customers loyalty even though it is speculated that the latest iPad will cost about $80 more than its predecessor. There are also speculations that CEO Tim Cook might offer a discount for the new iPad. iPad 2 starts at $499, while its rival Kindle Fire from Amazon costs only $199.
Kindle Fire, which runs on Google's android platform, turned out to be the biggest competitor to iPad over the holiday season last year, due mainly to the attractive price at which it was offered, which is less than half the price of iPad.
It is also not known when the new iPad will be available in the market after the launch early March. iPad 2 went on sale nine days from the launch. Going by media reports and speculation, Apple is preparing to ship iPad 3 from Chinese manufacturer Foxconn sooner rather than later.
According to PCMag.com, the California tech giant could be planning to take delivery of the third generation tablet just before they unveil the new device, creating nearly instant availability in the U.S.
Last month, Apple reported a first-quarter profit that more than doubled, driven mainly by strong holiday sales of iPhones and iPads. The company sold 15.43 million iPads in the December quarter and about 55 million iPads since its launch in 2010.
Since reporting its first quarter results, Apple's stock has risen steadily with investors anticipating the launch of iPad 3, and as well as expects the silicon giant to distribute dividends from its hefty cash reserves.
Apple's shares closed Tuesday's trade at $535.41, up 1.84%. In after-hours, the stock further gained 0.26%. Trading volume for the day was 21 million shares, above the three-month average volume of 14 million.
by RTT Staff Writer
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