Apple announces March 7 event
APPLE has sent out invites for an event next week at which the company is expected to announce the next iPad.
The event, which has the tagline "We have something you really have to see. And touch", will take place at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco at 10am, local time (6pm, Irish time), next week.
Though Apple has not confirmed what it will announce at the event, there are strong rumours that the iPad 3 will be unveiled. The image on the invitation, which shows a finger tapping an iPad, appears to suggest that the rumours are correct.
The company typically updates its key products annually and the iPad 2 was announced in March last year. It went on sale a couple of weeks after the announcement.
It is possible that Apple will also use the event to announce an improved Apple TV, possibly with support for full 1080p high definition video. The current model supports only 720 HD.
In early February, it was reported that Apple was in 'crunch mode', making the final preparations for the iPad launch event. The reports followed photos that were apparently leaked from Apple's Asian suppliers and which appeared to show parts for the forthcoming tablet computer.
It is thought that the new iPad will have a vastly improved display, with double the screen resolution of the iPad 2, and a faster processor.
The iPad 2 is powered by an Apple-designed A5 processor but it is thought that the new iPad will feature an A6 processor, which is either a new dual-core chip or a quad-core chip depending on which rumour you choose to believe.
It is not clear whether the new iPad will feature improved cameras, increased storage or Siri - Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant.
Apple has sold 55 million iPads since the device first launched, in 2010, and sees it as a key product for the future. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, recently told a conference that he expects tablet computers to eventually overtake PCs.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, Cook said: "From the first day it shipped, we thought that the tablet market would become larger than the PC market and it was just a matter of the time it took for that to occur. I feel that stronger today than I did then."
Next week's event will be the first major Apple product launch since the death of Steve Jobs, the company's co-founder and former chief executive. Tim Cook led the announcement of the iPhone 4S in October last year. Jobs died the following day.