The expectations of fans and the legion of escalating rumours seem to have found their mark. One of the most anticipated tournaments of the year - Apple's next generation iPad - seems to have finally arrived. At least, that is what Apple's newest media invite leads one to believe.

The Cupertino-based company sent out invites, on 28 February, to a media event scheduled for 7 March.

The event is set to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 pm ET, at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco. The invite itself only shows a corner of a display screen, with a finger poised over a calendar open at the announced date. The lettering on the invite simply says: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

The expected launch of the iPad 3 could translate into more good news for Apple fans. Leading U.S.-based online retailer Best Buy is offering a $50 discount on all versions of the iPad 2. The move, also reported in The New York Times, is expected to help clear stock ahead of the expected arrival of the iPad 3. The New York Times report is quoted as saying: "Best Buy quietly rolled out the price drops over the weekend for every variation of iPad 2 offered -- so the starting price of the 16-gigabyte, Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 is down to $449.99 from $499.99 and the most expensive iPad, 64-gigabytes with Wi-Fi and 3G capability, is down to $779.99 from $829.99."

Best Buy Offers $50 Discount on iPad 2

Meanwhile, micro-blogger Apple.Pro reported on Sina Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) that a shipment of iPad 3s had been sent to the U.S. It is presumed the gadgets were assembled at the Foxconn factory in Chengdu.

The shipments were sent on 26 February and are expected to land at Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Foxconn has reportedly confirmed a shipment of "secret cargo" containing next-generation iPads.

There could be even more reasons for Apple fans to rejoice, following escalating rumours a second device could accompany the possible launch of the iPad 3.

It is believed Apple could launch either Apple TV or a next generation iPod; in either case, it is expected to be a new high-definition audio format with "adaptive streaming" to enable Apple's iCloud and iTunes Match services to send varying qualities of audio files to different devices based on bandwidth and hardware requirements, according to MacRumours.

"Our company started to undertake a load of top-secured cargo. The owner has extreme requirements for the security. In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot," read a post on the Chinese WeiPhone forum.

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