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The imminent iPad 3 launch: A guide to the rumors

In need of a tablet? You might want to wait until next month, when Apple's long-awaited updated gadget is expected to debut

Apple fans aren't just excited about the iPad 3 — some are borderline clinically insane with anticipation over the updated gadget, which could become available to consumers in just a few weeks. Still, many tech analysts note that the next-generation iPad, while a significant improvement over the iPad 2, is not expected to be as big of an upgrade over its predecessor as the iPad 2 was over the original iPad. Here's what you should know:

First off: When is the iPad 3 coming out?No one knows for sure, says John Paczkowski at All Things D. But my sources are betting that the announcement event will be held the first week in March, with the devices going on sale a week or so later. That would make sense, says MG Siegler at Parislemon. Last year, Apple synced the iPad 2's launch with the SXSW film, music, and technology conference, which starts March 9 this year. Let's see if history repeats itself.

What will the new iPad look like?The new gadget will be "essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2," an Apple employee tells The New York Times, but with a "truly amazing screen." Indeed, the iPad 3's resolution is expected to be twice as good as its predecessor's, says Joshua Topolsky at The Verge.

What about the gadget's innards?The iPad 3 will boast a "significantly more powerful" graphics processor, says Topolsky. But sadly, despite expectations, we're hearing that its central processor, a dual-core chip in the iPad 2, won't be upgraded to a quad-core chip — which could have handled "incredible gaming and HD movie processing heft," says Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo.

How about the camera?The iPad 2's atrocious front-facing camera will likely get an HD boost, says Wagner. "This would make a lot of sense," especially since people increasingly use tablets for video chatting.

And Siri?You bet. Apple is already "expected to deploy Siri in its rumored Apple TV release," says Jonny Evans at Computerworld. In all likelihood, "we'll also see the assistant help you dance with your iPad 3."

Sources: All Things D, Computerworld, Gizmodo, NY Times, Parislemon, The Verge

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