It appears that Apple has chosen a date on which the company will release its next-generation iPad.
Rene Ritchie of the Apple-focused blog iMore, citing "sources who have been reliable in the past," is claiming that Apple will unveil it's next-generation iPad at an event on March 7. Later, the iMore rumor was corroborated by blogger Jim Dalrymple, who covers Apple at his blog The Loop and who is viewed by many as an unofficial mouthpiece for Apple PR. The well-sourced Dalrymple confirmed Ritchie's rumor with his trademark, single-word response: "Yep."
It had previously been reported -- first by John Paczkowski of All Things Digital -- that the next iPad (unofficially known as the "iPad 3") would be announced at an event in San Francisco during the early part of March. Dalrymple, Nick Wingfield of The New York Times and Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web corroborated that report through sources of their own.
Seth Weintraub of 9to5Mac had previously floated March 7th as the likely announcement date, noting that the previous iPad was introduced on a Wednesday.
Apple has not responded to request for comment; the company generally does not address Internet rumors.
It has been almost a year since Apple unveiled a new iPad. On March 2, 2011, then-CEO Steve Jobs showed off the iPad 2 at a San Francisco event; Jobs introduced the first iPad a year before that. Given that Apple usually adheres to rigid release schedules for new products, it follows logically that the third iPad announcement would come in March, just as the first two did, even if the company hasn't hinted at an impending launch.
iMore also had some speculation about the technical specifications of the next-generation iPad (which, the New York Times noted, will not necessarily be called the iPad 3). It is generally accepted that the new iPad will feature a so-called Retina display, or a screen on which a user would not be able to make it individual pixels. (An iPad boasting a Retina Display would feature a screen resolution of 2,048x1,536 pixels, quadruple that of the iPad 2's 1,024x768 resolution.)
iMore claims that 4G LTE is also possible for the next iPad. Tech blog PhoneArena sparked similar rumors last week when it obtained photos of 4G micro SIM cards in AT&T stores. Though those micro SIMs are probably destined for the Nokia Lumia 900 coming to AT&T this spring, they could also fit in a next-generation iPad.
If the next iPad is 4G capable, it will be Apple's first 4G device.
iPad 3 -- or, perhaps, iPad 2S -- speculation is sure to continue as the tablet gets closer to its public debut. For more, check out the most recent Apple rumors in the slideshow (below).