The media event that Apple called on 7 March has been the talk of tech circles all across the world, ever since it was distributed. The speculation is that Apple will announce the iPad 3 on the day.
Given the growing number of tablets and smartphones available to the consumer, it is becoming important to time launches carefully, something Apple seems to have become experts at. It now appears the start of the year will be about the iPad 3 and the end about the iPhone 5.
The iPad has dominated the tablet market over the last couple of years, much as the iPhone has the smartphone world. The iPad 3 seems set to continue that trend.
Check out our eight reasons why the new device could well continue the Apple tradition of being a market leader.
Price: Most non-Apple tablets have found it hard to compete with Apple's pricing strategies. The Cupertino company seems to have found the right blend of price and features to keep customers happy. Competitors looking to either undercut or match Apple's prices tend to end up with unsold stock and are forced to take losses to dispose of inventory. True to their strengths, it appears the new iPad will not have a radically different price, compared to the iPad 2. The new device is expected to retail for £399 for the Wi-Fi version and £499 for the 3G-enabled version. If 4G becomes an option, then expect a third price point.
Display Size: The late Steve Jobs was spot on when he said consumers were uncomfortable with tablets that had small displays. The 9.7-inch screen seems perfect for most people. In fact, tablets with larger displays are equally unattractive, it seems. For example, the text on the iPad 2's screen looks significantly shaper compared to its rivals and this has traditionally been a weak point for the latter group. The Galaxy Tab, for example, sometimes produces oversaturated colours while the Motorola Xoom's text-rendering was inconsistent and had several fonts showing unexpected choppiness; though the problem seems somewhat ironed out with the Ice Cream Sandwich OS.
The original iPad and iPad 2 both had a screen resolution of 768x1024. Current reports, however suggest the iPad 3 could come with double that - 1536x2048 and double the pixel density - for 260ppi. Although not as sharp as the iPhone 4S (326ppi), it should, nevertheless, be very sharp.
Eco-System: The concept of an eco-system is something you have probably been exposed to a lot over the past few years. Essentially, it refers to a perfectly integrated gadget experience. A combination of the device and its OS with deeply integrated content (streaming movies and TV, music, books, and magazines) and services (media stores, cloud storage, app stores).
The reason why this is becoming increasingly important is because every company wants to control the means of distribution, own services on individual platforms, sell the content and be the gatekeeper of content it does not sell. This means consumers must connect to one particular service to access others, meaning Apple gains big.
Over the last few years, Apple has built one of the world's largest eco-systems. It is free to use and users are offered vast numbers of films, songs, applications, books and even education options, delivered directly to their iDevices via the iTunes software.
It should be then obvious that the iPad 3 will join this eco-system and take its place along with the iPhone, iPod and previous iPad versions, as well as the Apple TV.
Software-Hardware Integration: Apple has created a range of hardware platforms and software that offers a significant number of services for any user. The company's major success comes from assembling the two components into a platform that is both likeable and useable - something the user wants - rather than offering an ad hoc combination of hardware and software.
The new iPad, it is believed, will almost certainly come with Siri - the voice-activated personal assistant that debuted with the iPhone 4S. This can only strengthen the iPad's appeal, given how popular Siri is.
No Competitors: The other major point to remember is that there really are not many realistic competitors for the iPad. This year, at both the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress (MWC), there wereonly a handful of Android tablets unveiled which could be called real competitors. While the iPad 3 won't have free reign when it becomes available, no other manufacturer to date has been able to emulate Apple's success - or even get anywhere near it.
Improved Hardware: Last year, Apple released the A5 dual-core processor with the iPad 2. The A5 then made its way to the iPhone 4S. It would not be surprising if a similar chain of events happened this year too. The iPad 3 could debut the quad-core A6 processor and act as a trial of the hardware, before it is moved to the iPhone 5. Then again we could just be getting a boosted version of the A5 in the form of the A5X.
There are also rumours of a larger camera. However, these have not been quite as rampant as rumours concerning other components. The fact is tablets are not really used to take photographs. Nevertheless, there may be improvements in the camera's programming and features, to enable FaceTime to work better.
Finally, if rumours of the LTE chip are true, expect the iPad 3 to be bulkier than its predecessor.
Best Gaming Experience on Tablet: Apple's iOS has a big advantage when it comes to using the iPad as a gaming console. Its App Store has a bigger selection and more commitment from content developers than the Android Market. However, more Android games are expected soon which will take advantage of the latest quad-core hardware appearing in the newest Android smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, for now, third-party benchmarks indicate the A5 has more muscle than Nvidia's Tegra 2 and until Android games take advantage of the new hardware, the iPad should still reign supreme.
App Store: The popularity of Apple's App Store seems limitless. Apple has only recently confirmed that the 25 billion download mark has been reached. Given the expected improved Retina Display in the iPad 3, it is unlikely to lead to any sort of slowdown in the rate at which Apple apps are developed.