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Apple's Stock Set For iPad Rumor Boost (Update 2)

Updated from 9:20 a.m. EST to provide Samsung official comments in the twelfth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - When Apple (AAPL) announces a product, the buzz doesn't die down soon afterwards, as it does with most companies. In fact, it gets even stronger, a trend that may cause Apple's stock to move even higher.

Apple's new iPad elicited a positive response from consumers when it was launched last week, although rumors continue to swirl about future versions of the product, and, potentially, new carriers.

Engadget notes that not only is the iPad coming to Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) as Apple announced last week, but that Sprint Nextel (S) is making plans for it too.

Sprint was conspicuously left off the carrier list last week when Apple unveiled the product, but this does not mean the Kansas City-based telecom company will not get the new iPad eventually. Engadget obtained the screen shots from Best Buy's (BBY) inventory system.

Thew new iPad is already back-ordered on Apple's website for both AT&T and Verizon, with the tech giant noting that "demand is off the charts." An additional carrier would allow Apple to gets its tablet into more hands. There is clearly intense demand for the product, as consumers clamor for the latest tablet from Apple.

Some 75% of respondents to TheStreet's recent iPad poll said they already pre-ordered the new tablet or would eventually buy one.

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz called the new iPad a quality upgrade based off the tech specs. "The improved technology specs of the new iPad should sustain Apple's market leadership, in our view, and the company's market leadership through innovation stands to continue," Moskowitz wrote in a recent research report. He rates Apple "overweight" with a $625 price target.

Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes believes the iPad is likely to help Apple's earnings, due to strong demand. "We believe that Apple likely pre-sold millions of devices in the first weekend of pre-orders and believe that our iPad shipment estimate of 8.5 million units for the March quarter is very conservative," Reitzes explained, in a research note. He rates Apple "overweight" with a $710 price target.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek noted in a research report that his own experience ordering the new iPad led to more than 45 minutes of "extremely slow web page loading, which we believe indicates heavy demand." Misek raised his price target to $699 and has a "buy" rating on shares.

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