The typically reliable John Paczkowski at All Things D is claiming this morning that Apple's next iPad, so far unofficially dubbed the iPad 3, will be announced by Apple at a media event in San Francisco in the first week of March. This rumor, if true, will follow last year's announcement timeframe -- the iPad 2 was unveiled on March 2, and went on sale on March 11 in the United States.
Sources say the company has chosen the first week in March to debut the successor to the iPad 2 and will do so at one of its trademark special events. The event will be held in San Francisco, presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple’s preferred location for big announcements like these. No word yet on a street date for the iPad 3 (assuming that’s what it’s called), though my guess is retail availability will follow roughly the same schedule as that of the iPad 2: available for purchase a week or so after the event.
In his story, Paczkowski reiterates previous rumors of a device sharing roughly the same form factor of the iPad 2, only carrying a higher resolution display, possibly a "Retina" one with 2048 x 1536 pixels of resolution. This is not the first time a major publication has weighed in to speculate on the features and release date of the next-generation iPad: back in January, a Bloomberg report claimed that the iPad 3 would feature LTE, a Retina Display, and a quad-core Apple-branded processor to power the device's higher resolution screen. As for other rumors surrounding the device, it's been speculated that the iPad 3 would be slightly thicker than the iPad 2 to accomodate a bigger battery and different display, with parts floating around China suggesting that the increase in thickness should be around 1 millimiter. Other parts have surfaced as well among Chinese retailers, albeit they simply don't offer any insight into the possible functionalities of the new iPad.
All Things D has been a very reliable source of Apple information in the past, correctly predicting the iPhone 4S' October launch and Apple education event of January 2012.