Apple iPad 3 may get March release date, 4G

Bloomberg reports that the iPad 3 is likely to hit volume production in February and hit stores in March. If so, Apple could face an iPad 2 sales slowdown.

Larry Dignan
2 min read
Will the next iPad be 4G-friendly? Apple

Apple's iPad 3 will reportedly hit the market in March and work with Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

According to Bloomberg, the iPad 3 will land in the calendar first quarter. Bloomberg cited manufacturing partners in Asia. In addition, the iPad 3 will sport a quad-core chip.

The iPad 3 is expected to be one of Apple's big revenue drivers for the upcoming year. While the iPad 3 is critical, most analysts expect the iPhone 5, which is also expected to be 4G friendly, to drive sales more.

Volume manufacturing is expected to ramp up in February, according to Bloomberg.

If Bloomberg's report is on target, Apple is likely to see a slowdown in iPad 2 sales, which may already be taking a hit from Amazon's Kindle Fire. There has also been speculation that Apple will keep the iPad 2 around and play multiple price points.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster handicapped Apple's iPad plans in a recent research note. He said:

Our model currently assumes iPad 3 will simply replace iPad 2; however, if Apple expands the iPad lineup to both higher and lower price points, the new iPads could support growth well above our current estimates. Our current CY13 revenue growth estimate for the iPad is 11%, with the bull case at 30%.

In a research note, Wedbush Securities analyst Craig Irwin said that the iPad 3 is likely to be a boon for battery suppliers. The iPad 3 is likely to have much more battery material in it. Irwin said suppliers like Simplo, Dynapack, and Polymore are likely to benefit.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Apple iPad 3 to go HD, 4G?"