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Apple schedules iPad event for March 7

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(Read caption) The iPad 3 will likely be unveiled at any event in San Francisco, on March 7. Here, a customer tries out an iPad 2 at a store in China.

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Apple sent out invitations to the likely unveiling of its iPad 3. The event arrives a week from Wednesday. 

The company has issued a limited number of invitations for a private event in San Francisco on March 7. "We have something you really need to see. And touch," the invitation reads. That's a pretty vague description, of course, and Apple has not officially confirmed the launch of a new iPad. Still, the rumors have reached fever pitch, and the timing is right: Apple, which updates its big products every year, last unveiled a new tablet in March of 2011. 

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Also, the invitation has a giant picture of a touch screen, and the familiar glossy black of the iPad frame, so we can all be reasonably sure that Apple isn't planning on introducing a new laptop. (Interestingly, there is plenty of speculation that Apple may be planning to introduce both the iPad 3 and a new Apple TV, possibly with Siri capabilities. But those rumors are a little murkier – take them with a grain of salt.) 

What kind of features will be included on the new iPad, you ask? More powerful innards, probably, along with a better set of cameras. And almost definitely a better screen – odds-on favorite being the same high-resolution "Retina Display" used in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Meanwhile, over at Macworld, Lex Friedman and Dan Moren have forecast a price cut on the iPad 2, which currently starts at $499. 

"A discounted iPad 2 still might not get as cheap as the Kindle Fire," Friedman and Moren write, "but a $300 iPad 2 with limited storage space might look awfully appealing to folks over any of the numerous, interchangeable, and bland tablet competitors in the market."

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