iPad 3 announcement coming first week in March 2012

Today we have another source claiming Apple has plans to hold an event in early March to unveil the next iPad 3 – just a week after Japanese website Macotakara revealed Apple was holding a "strange" February event before a "Special Event to launch the third-generation iPad in early March".

The usually reliable John Paczkowski, of All Things D, reported of new sources saying Apple has chosen the first week in March to reveal the iPad 3.

"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," Paczkowski wrote.

According to the sources, the event will be held in San Francisco, "presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts, Apple’s preferred location for big announcements like these."

As of right now, there is no word on a street date for the iPad 3, but Paczkowski guesses the "retail availability will follow roughly the same schedule as that of the iPad 2."

For the record, the iPad 2 was unveiled on March 2, and went on sale on March 11th in the United States.  If the iPad 3 follows the same course, which many believe it will, then that would set it up for a mid-March release.

Paczkowski's sources also talked of the next-generation iPad's features, and it pretty much falls in line with previous rumors of the system's specs: "A device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048×1536 Retina Display — or something close to it."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the event, saying the company does not comment on rumors and speculation.  Despite the lack of confirmation, All Things D is generally a very reliable source.  In the past they've predicted the iPhone 4S' October launch and Apple education event of January 2012.

Aside from All Things D track record, these latest March rumors, fall in line with a number of past rumors pointing towards a March release for the iPad 3.  Bloomberg  previously reported that production in Asia have started "ramping up" for the new iPad, with Apple having plans to release two iPads this year – one in March and one in October.