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Working off of leaked photos and images, several analysts and bloggers have speculated the next version of the iPad will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2, which could mean a bigger battery. Rumors suggest the tablet will feature Retina Display, the new A5X processor for improved speed and computing power, and a QXGA 1,536 x 2,048-pixel HD display.
Another rumor which could be the biggest selling point would be the new iPad will be Long Term Evolution (LTE) ready, capable of running on the 4G networks from
AT&T(T - Get Report) and
Verizon(VZ - Get Report).
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu believes that if the iPad were to incorporate 4G LTE technology, it could be a boon for sales.
"We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, [sic <b>Amazon's</b> <span class=" TICKERFLAT">(<a href="/quote/AAPL.html">AAPL</a> - <a href="http://secure2.thestreet.com/cap/prm.do?OID=028198&ticker=AAPL">Get Report</a><a class=" arrow" href="/quote/AAPL.html"><span class=" tickerChange" id="story_AAPL"></span></a>)</span>] Kindle Fire and not to mention the myriad of [sic <b>Google</b> <span class=" TICKERFLAT">(<a href="/quote/GOOG.html">GOOG</a> - <a href="http://secure2.thestreet.com/cap/prm.do?OID=028198&ticker=GOOG">Get Report</a><a class=" arrow" href="/quote/GOOG.html"><span class=" tickerChange" id="story_GOOG"></span></a>)</span>] Android offerings out there," Wu wrote in a recent research note. He rates Apple buy with a $550 price target.
Wu believes the introduction of an LTE-enabled iPad could make his estimate for 51 million iPads to be sold in fiscal year 2012 "conservative." Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since the product launched in March 2010.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggested in a research note that Apple could call the new tablet "iPad HD," highlighting the high-resolution display, or perhaps "iPad 4G" to showcase the potential for 4G LTE connectivity.
Munster also noted that if Apple does sell an iPad in the March quarter, that could "drive upside to our March quarter iPad estimate of 9.0m units." Munster rates Apple overweight with a $670 price target.
Many believe the third version of the
iPad will include Siri, Apple's voice navigation assistant. Siri is already known to be making its way into some models of
later this year.CNBCtweeted Apple has sent out the press invite, entitled "We Have Something You Really Have To See. And Touch." The event will be held March 7 in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10 a.m. PST.