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Apple may push interactive catalogs as part of 'iPad 3' rollout on Wednesday

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On the eve of Apple's expected unveiling of the third-generation iPad, the company has introduced a new Catalogs category to the App Store, hinting at a possible announcement related to interactive catalogs on the iPad as part of Wednesday's big event.

The arrival of the new category appears to have been premature, as it has currently has no popular apps listed in iTunes Preview and has yet to appear in All Categories listing for the App Store on iTunes.

Considering that Apple is widely expected to unveil a Retina Display-equipped iPad on Wednesday, the company is likely readying a push for the release of ultra-high-resolution interactive catalogs delivered to the iPad via the App Store.

"The impact of the iPad in the shopping and publication industries has been massive. Many thousands of apps have been added over the last 2 years to address the consumers need to interact with their favorite books, magazines and brands within an iPad optimized experience," said Joaquin Ruiz, CEO of the leading catalog app, "Catalog Spree."

"Adding an app category is not something that Apple does lightly and we believe Apple's decision reflects the importance of this use-case in the Apple App Store ecosystem," he added.

Prior to Tuesday, "Catalog Spree" and other shopping entertainment apps had been categorized as "Lifestyle" apps. However, Apple has already begun switching applications over to the new category, as the application is now listed under Catalogs. The transition still has some kinks, though. For instance, clicking on the new category in iTunes takes users to a blank screen that says only "iPad Catalogs."

Apple rival Google has already launched its own initiative for digital catalogs on tablets. Though Google, of course, has a vested interest in promoting its catalog service for the Android operating system, it does also have an iPad version of the application. Google Catalogs is also now listed under Apple's new Catalogs category.

In addition to an improved display, the next-generation iPad is expected to include a faster processor and 4G Long-Term Evolution connectivity. Apple's March 7 media event kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.