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We already know we cannot be too far away from any iPad 3 announcement assuming Apple is going to follow its usual release schedule, but a new report suggests that we might only have to wait a matter of weeks, rather than a couple of months.

Japanese site Macotakara has cited sources in both the United States and Asia, claiming that Apple is set to announce the next generation iPad sooner rather than later.

A release sometime during March is looking most likely right now, with an announcement set to come just prior to release, probably towards the end of February. This timescale fits in nicely with ongoing reports that production of the new tablet will reach capacity during the coming weeks also.

With the next iPad rumors now coming thick and fast the only real questions remaining are about hardware specifications, rather than timescales.

Will Apple bring LTE to the new iPad, for example? We’re highly skeptical about that considering the technology’s infancy across the globe. Let us not forget that Apple did not even give the original iPhone a way to connect to a 3G network – don’t expect 4G just yet, especially in the iPad.

A quad-core A6 CPU is looking likely, though the debate about whether so much power is required in a tablet will continue to rage on. With whatever appears in the iPad expected to trickle into the next iPhone, we’ll be watching to see what Apple does this time around.

The rumor which has recently picked up heat in the light of the new iPad 3 is; a Retina display. After its rapid acceptance in the iPhone 4 and the 4S, it would be an epic move on Apple’s end to bless the next iPad with a Retina display. In case you’re wondering about the resolution of the display itself, then according to previous reports, we should expect a display panel with a modest resolution of 2048×1536 while maintaining the same size of 9.7 inches, which we’re already acquainted to.

To wrap it up, its also likely that Apple might announce the final build of iOS 5.1 for all iOS devices, which is said to bring Siri dictation to the iPad.

We’ll keep our ears to the ground for more iPad 3 news over the coming weeks – expect lots of it in the run up to an official announcement.

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