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Case makers plan for Apple 'iPad HD,' Best Buy expects accessories March 11

Ahead of next week's anticipated iPad unveiling, case makers are gearing up with parts for a so-called "iPad HD," while Best Buy's system shows third-party accessories will arrive on March 11.

Alleged part listings from accessory companies Griffin and Belkin obtained by Gizmodo both refer to an "iPad HD (3)." The listings could be an indication of what Apple intends to call its third-generation iPad, though it's also entirely possible that the case makers are just guessing until Apple makes any name official.

Generally referred to as an "iPad 3," Apple's next touchscreen tablet is expected to feature a high-resolution Retina Display that will pack more pixels than a 1080p television. That would justify the "iPad HD" name, if Apple were to in fact use that moniker.

Separately, Best Buy's internal inventory system is showing a handful of third-party "iPad 3" accessories that are scheduled to arrive on March 11, just four days after Apple's media event next week. The inventory listings at Best Buy, sent to TUAW, include ZAGG's InvisibleSHIELD device protectors.

The Best Buy listings make no mention of the "iPad HD" name used by Griffin and Belkin, and turned up in the system via a search for "ipad3." In addition to the name, the arrival date is also likely to be a placeholder, as March 11 is a Sunday.

Last year, before it was officially announced, Apple's fifth-generation iPhone was generally known as the mythical "iPhone 5." But Apple chose instead to call the device the iPhone 4S, as it features an external design largely identical to the iPhone 4.

The third-generation iPad is also expected to look very similar to its predecessor, the iPad 2, as numerous leaked components show a device with the same form factor, aside from a slightly thicker body measuring 0.81 millimeters larger than the iPad 2.

Accessories 2

Whatever name the next iPad has, it is expected to feature high-speed 4G LTE data connectivity and a faster internal processor, in addition to the high-resolution Retina Display. Apple's iPad media event will begin next Wednesday at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.