Apple is tipped to be holding a media event next month where it will announce the hotly anticipated iPad 3, just under a year after the iPad 2 broke cover.

Japanese Apple blog Macotakara believes that the tech giant is looking to hold the iPad 3 debut in early February, with a product release scheduled for early March, one year on from the iPad 2, which went on sale on March 11, 2011.

Macotakara cited sources familiar with the iPad production line in Asia and the US: "According to Asian supplier and a source in United States, Apple seems to prepare to hold Special Event in early February."

While the Japanese site doesn't provide much more information than that, this new snippet of news does tally with earlier reports from Bloomberg, stating that production of the iPad 3 had already begun, and would reach maximum capacity by February.

The iPad 3 is widely expected to feature a super-high resolution Retina display as its key selling point; a Retina screen would offer twice the resolution of the outgoing iPad 2, but may cause the iPad 3 to be slightly thicker than its predecessor.

A speed bump from the adoption of a new quad-core A6 processor is also on the cards, but as the design as a whole isn't expected to change, some speculation now surrounds the name, which may be iPad 2S to reflect a minor update to the tablet and not a major overhaul.

Apple is holding a media event geared towards education in New York on Thursday, January 19; although this announcement may introduce interactive textbooks which will, presumably, run on the iPad, it is highly unlikely that any new hardware will be announced at the same time.