iPad 3 Unveiling is Finally Here
Are you ready?
You should be. If not, here's a quick refresher: due to be unveiled at approximately 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST, the iPad 3 (or iPad HD , as the case may be) is expected to feature a host of snazzy upgrades, including a high-def Retina Display, a faster processor (potentially a quad-core), 4G LTE, and a superior battery . None of these speculated features have been confirmed, but the increased screen resolution seems to be a guaranteed feature of the new iDevice. Don't be surprised if the camera also receives an upgrade.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) is rumored to ship as many as one million units  at launch, which could provide enough iPads to sustain the initial launch, but will not be enough to fulfill the overall demand. It's anybody's guess how Apple may divide shipments between each model (ex: Wi-Fi versus 3G or 4G LTE). But depending on the location in which you shop, AT&T (NYSE: T ) models might be easier to find than Verizon (NYSE: VZ ), and vice versa. Sprint (NYSE: S ) is expected to get a version as well, though the company isn't expected to release its first 4G LTE smartphone until March. This could be viewed as a sign that the iPad 3 will not support 4G LTE.
The iPad 3 may be thicker and/or heavier than its predecessor, but it is not expected to cost more money as some earlier reports suggested. Rather, Apple is believed to be launching its base model at the same $500 MSRP that accompanied the previous iPads.
While some have speculated that iOS could receive an upgrade to bolster the iPad 3's appeal and functionality, there has been very little hype with regard to any new apps or App Store features that may launch alongside the third iPad. While Apple isn't known for launching products with a host of triple-A content (Apple builds triple-A products but typically prefers to leave the software creation to other developers), it would stand to reason that new apps will accompany the iPad 3's release. Frankly, I'd love to see a new version of Final Cut that was deep, expansive, and made the mouse-and-keyboard setup irrelevant. The iPad 3 might not be powerful enough to handle that (not without scaling down the quality of the video, at least). It may not have the proper ports for video editing either (chances are you'd only be able to edit videos filmed with the iPad 3). But it could still be a really impressive app.
Though you shouldn't expect too many big games to be announced, Apple is likely to use the iPad 3 launch to promote its features as a gaming platform. If nothing else, the next iPad should have superior graphic capabilities, allowing game developers to (at the very least) produce better-looking games.
One of the more persistent (though arguably wrong ) rumors has been that Apple will launch a smaller iPad this year, which may or may not be unveiled at today's event.
Before getting to the big announcements, however, Apple will likely spend a few minutes talking about its massive venture into textbook publishing , which could be an important part of the company's future. Similar to the way Apple used iTunes to inspire iPod sales, the Mac maker hopes to use digital textbooks as a platform for inspiring additional iPad sales. By re-marketing the iPad (an entertainment device) as the ultimate educational solution, Apple could sell the tablet to individuals and institutions that would have normally used PCs, standard books, and other traditional mediums.
Stay tuned to Benzinga for iPad 3 updates throughout the day.
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