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iPad 3 launch in first week of March, says report

The iPad 3 will be outed early next month, according to a report -- with a more powerful chip and a higher resolution retina display.

The iPad 3 will launch at the beginning of March, AllThingsD is reporting.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the publication tips the first week of next month for iPad redux -- and reckons the iPad 3 could go on sale as soon as one week later, as the iPad 2 did.

The iPad 3 will be unveiled at a special event in San Francisco, according to the report, with all the usual Apple fanfare -- albeit new CEO Tim Cook will take the stage to announce Apple's re-imagined iPad.

Despite being on medical leave when Apple announced the iPad 2, then CEO Steve Jobs couldn't resist taking a turn on the stage in person, saying, "We've been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss today."

AllThingsD speculates that the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is the likely location for the tablet event as it's been Apple's favourite venue for big launches.

Features-wise, the site's sources reckon the next-gen slate will have a similar form factor to the iPad 2, but will pack a much faster chip and an improved graphics processing unit. They also reckon a 2,048x1,536-pixel retina display -- or something close to it -- will be gracing the third-gen slate, as has been widely rumoured.

Asked whether 2012 will be the year of the iPad 3, a source familiar with the device said: "What do you think?" Which we can only assume means an almighty yes, yes, yes.

Apple is remaining tight-lipped. A spokeswoman declined ATD's request to comment on the timing of the event, saying the company does not comment on rumours and speculation.

Have you been waiting all your life for Apple to add a retina display to the iPad? Are more pixels and more power enough to make 2012 the year of the iPad 3? Shout it out in the comments below or engage in reasoned debate with your tech-loving peers on our Facebook wall. In the meantime, here's our brilliant iPad 3 rumour roundup video!