Apple iPad 2 Event Planned, Device Could Come Early

What a difference a day makes.

Just 24 hours ago, rumors were flying about delays in the production of the iPhone 5 and the second-generation version of the iPad, which could keep them out of consumers hands until September and June, respectively. But it appears that we can put at least one of those rumors the iPad 2 delay to bed.

Forbes got its hands on an invitation from Apple to an event on March 2 in San Francisco, where the Silicon Valley giant will reportedly reveal the new iPad. While not mentioning the device in the text of the invite, the accompanying picture shows the calendar date March 2 being peeled back to reveal the corner of whats clearly an iPad.

Up until the recent speculation, it was anticipated that Apple would roll out the iPad 2 in April, one year after the original device made its debut. A March 2 announcement makes it extremely likely that Apple will meet that date, or even beat it.

Apple isnt commenting just yet on specs for the new iPad, but reports over the past few months have speculated that it will come with two cameras the original iPad doesnt have any that will not only let you take pictures and record video, but enable video chat using Apples FaceTime application. It also supposedly will have a USB port and sport the Retina Display screen resolution offered in the fourth-generation iPhone. The device might also be thinner and lighter than the original iPad and be offered by all of the big four U.S. wireless carriers, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

The anticipated unveiling will help Apple beat the BlackBerry PlayBook to market; the PlayBook is not expected to be available until late April or early May. With another competitor, the Motorola Xoom, going on sale this week, a potentially earlier-than-expected release date for the iPad 2 could be important. Many of the upcoming tablets have cameras and some other bells and whistles that the original iPad doesnt have, so this should help Apple keep up with or stay ahead of the Joneses.

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