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The March 7 event will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif., the same place the last two iPad unveilings have been held. The invitation features a finger pushing down on an iOS calendar icon with March 7 as the date.
"We have something you really have to see. And touch," the invitation reads.
The inclusion that people will "have to see" the new device is likely a reference to the high-resolution Retina Display that Apple is expected to add to its next-generation iPad. Rumors have suggested the display will have a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would be twice the resolution of the 1,024-by-768 screen found on the iPad 2.
In fact, the invitation itself could even be a picture of the new iPad display. The image does show a very crisp iPad screen that could be a higher resolution than the current iPad 2.
Apple's invitations went out only moments after financial network CNBC incorrectly claimed that the next iPad would be unveiled at an event in New York next week. However, reporter Jon Fortt quickly followed up to explain that he has heard that New York will play a "key" role in next week's announcement.
The March 7 event date has been expected for weeks now, but Tuesday's invitations were the first official confirmation of the media briefing from Apple. Recent reports out of the Far East have suggested that Apple could offer near-immediate availability of the new iPad, with claims that the new devices are already being shipped to the U.S as retailers cut prices of existing iPad 2 models by $50 to $70.
Apple's March 7 event invitation, via The Loop.
The last few weeks have seen a whirlwind of iPad-related rumors in anticipation of the event. Another purported leak from a Chinese microblogging site has suggested that Apple's high-definition Retina Display could add a previously unexpected $80 premium to the price of the iPad, pushing the entry level price up to $579 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB model. All Wi-Fi models would see an $80 price boost, the documents suggest, while 3G-capable models would see their prices rise $70 each.
Other changes to the iPad are expected to be largely internal, with evidence of a faster processor and potential 4G LTE connectivity having surfaced in recent weeks. On the outside, the next iPad is expected to look largely the same, with an external case featuring edges slightly more tapered than the iPad 2.
Another leak showed a purported "iPad 3" logic board, featuring a processor labeled "A5X," suggesting the chip could be a more powerful version of the A5 CPU currently found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S rather than a full-fledged "A6" upgrade. Reports have also been divided as to whether the next iPad will be powered by a quad-core processor or a dual-core CPU.
For more, see AppleInsider's full and extensive coverage of all things "iPad 3" leading up to next week's official unveiling.