Apple Inc and Partners Preparing for Anticipated iPad 3 March Sale Date

Even though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did not attend the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, it still managed to grab headlines. The week ended with news that the long-awaited iPad 3 is expected to go on sale in March.

The new tablet will include a high-definition screen, a faster processor and the ability to interface with next-generation wireless networks, according to sources. It will utilize a quad-core chip, enabling users to move between applications at a faster rate.

This month, Apple’s Asian manufacturing partners increased production on the iPad 3 and plan to reach full volumes by February. Details of the new tablet haven’t been announced publicly and the company hasn’t commented. The release of the iPad 3 will be Apple’s first hardware release since Steve Jobs died in October …

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will look to this next generation iPad to fight off increasing competition in the tablet market. Introduced in 2010, the iPad now represents the company’s second-greatest revenue generator after the iPhone. According to Bloomberg, Apple has sold more than 40 million iPads, generating at least $25.3 billion in sales.

Its success has encouraged rivals to produce their own tablets. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Samsung Electronics Co. are just a few of the companies that have entered the competition. More are expected to follow.

New iPad feature: LTE Networks

Apple has been trying to make the iPad compatible with LTE. Not every carrier offers it yet, but Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) are rolling out LTE networks for customers to have quicker data access.

Samsung, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (NYSE:MMI) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) already produce some LTE smartphones, but Apple will introduce LTE to its iPad before its iPhones. Why? The iPad has a larger battery and will have greater support for the technology’s power requirements, according to Bloomberg.

Additionally, new features on the iPad 3 …

…will include higher resolution, with more pixels on its screen than some high-definition televisions, but small enough to have images appear as printed material. More graphic processing will enable videos to play almost immediately.

Foxconn Technology Group., Apple’s main manufacturing partner, is putting together the new iPad. It has also built the company’s iPhone and other products.

This month, mass production will begin and Chinese factories will be running on 24-hour shifts. A break will take place during China’s Lunar New Year holiday in January and then resume in February. Apple closed down 0.37 to $419.81 on Friday.

Further Reading: Apple Reveals Suppliers After Audits Reveal Ethics Violations>>

To contact the reporter on this story: Debbie Baratz at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com