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Report: iPad 3 to be unveiled in early March

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iDes of March?

The rumors about the next iPad have been growing for a while now — and it may be just a matter of weeks before we find out which are true.

AllThingsD is reporting that Apple plans to host an event the first week of March to launch the new iPad — which is largely expected to be called the iPad 3 (though keep in mind we all expected the company to unveil the iPhone 5 last year, so the name may be different).

If that date is accurate, it could put Apple on another collision course with the video game industry. The annual Game Developer's Conference will be held the week of March 5 — right across the street from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Apple's preferred venue for big announcements).

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Last year, you might recall, Apple scheduled its keynote opposite the GDC's keynote speech, which was given by Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. As the tech press fretted about which event to attend — and started to sneak out when the Nintendo keynote ran long — Iwata went on the warpath, pointing an accusatory finger at the App Store pricing model.

"Game development is drowning," he said. "Until now, there has always been the ability to make a living [making games]. Will that still be the case moving forward?"

(Iwata won't be at this year's GDC.)

Since the announcement date is still just a rumor, there's no hard data on when the iPad 3 will hit store shelves. Typically, though, Apple doesn't have a long window between its announcement of new products and their release — usually just a week or two.

And while there's plenty of speculation about what will make Apple's new tablet different than its current one, the general consensus is that the device will be physically similar to the iPad 2, but will offer a much faster processor and better graphics, as well as the Retina Display that's a part of the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Other suggestions include an HD front-facing camera and 4G accessibility, meaning faster download speeds for people who get the cellular-equipped versions. There are whispers that Apple might include the electronic personal assistant Siri on the device as well.

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