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iPad 2 event could herald iOS 4.3 debut and MobileMe relaunch

Apple is unveiling its iPad 2 at an event next Wednesday, but what else will it announce? Reports suggest iOS 4.3 may be released into the wild, while Apple's MobileMe service could be relaunched.

Apple's invitation to its 2 March event made it crystal clear that the iPad 2 will be making its public debut that night. What else could the company have in store, though? Reports today suggest the iOS 4.3 software update could be released into the wild alongside the event, while Apple's MobileMe service could get its anticipated revamp too.

Boy Genius Report has the iOS 4.3 story, claiming that its sources say Apple has "gold-mastered" the update this week, hinting at an imminent release. The biggest new feature is Personal Hotspot, which lets you share your iPhone's 3G connection with other devices via Wi-Fi -- including the iPad.

What's unclear for now is whether this feature will work on all iPhones, if some operators get shirty at the idea. We may find out more on this score during Apple's event next Wednesday. Another key iOS 4.3 feature is the ability for non-Apple apps to use the AirPlay wireless streaming technology. Oh, and iPad users will also get to toggle their side switch back to being a lock rotation control, too.

More intriguing is the news that Apple has stopped selling the $99 single licence for MobileMe on its US online store, with AppleInsider declaring that Apple has declared the single licence and family pack as 'End of Life'.

Recent speculation suggests Apple has big plans for MobileMe, including making the service free to all, but also turning it into a cloud media-locker service to store and stream your music, videos and photos, along with a dash of social networking and location-based check-ins.

Could this service go live next week? That seems a little early, but Apple may well announce it on 2 March to get iOS users buzzing about the new MobileMe.

Finally, this wouldn't be an iPad 2 story without the latest rumours about the hardware itself. Engadget has gone back on its previous story claiming the device will have an SD card slot and a higher resolution display.

Now it's falling into line with other credible speculation, suggesting that iPad 2 will have the same screen-size and resolution as the original iPad, but with more RAM -- 512MB -- and a more powerful A5 processor. Engadget adds that Apple may also talk about the next major update for its software, iOS 5, during the 2 March event.