Apple iPad 3 gets launch date, and will there be an iPad mini?

Apple iPad

Announcement expected in early March, but Chinese company moves to ban iPad sales

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 15:23 ON Tue 14 Feb 2012

APPLE is preparing for its first new product launch since the death of Steve Jobs when it unveils the long-awaited iPad 3 at an event three weeks from now. But its plans could be scuppered if a Shenzhen company succeeds in banning iPads coming in and out of China.

First the good news. According to iMore, a launch event for the iPad 3 will be held on 7 March, just as other Apple watchers had predicted.

The site predicts that the new device will have several upgrades. "Along with the 2048x1536 Retina display, the iPad 3 will feature a quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip, and possibly 4G LTE networking," says iMore. Debate had been raging among Apple watchers over whether the new machine will feature a quad-core processor. Leaked photos of the casing appeared to suggest that there was no room.

To add to the anticipation, it is possible that Apple could come up with an even more exciting announcement. The Wall Street Journal claims that the company has been working on a kind of iPad-mini, featuring a smaller screen than the current iPad.

"A smaller tablet device would broaden Apple's portfolio and help it better compete with rivals such as Samsung Electronics and Amazon," says the paper. "It would also begin to emulate the strategy it took for its iPod music player, which it released in a number of shapes and sizes over time."

Although Steve Jobs was not a fan of smaller tablets, Apple will have noted the success of rivals' products. "Samsung's 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire have been selling well. It means consumers want a tablet that is smaller than the existing 9.7-inch iPad," analyst Diana Wu told the paper.

However, the BBC reports that Apple faces yet another legal battle after a Chinese company asked customs officials to block shipments of Apple's iPad into and out of the country. The firm, Proview, based in Shenzhen, says it owns the iPad name. A ban would hit Apple hard as most of its manufacturers are based in China.

"Last year Proview won an initial judgment in a mainland Chinese court, which Apple has appealed against," reports the BBC. "Proview said it is contacting officials across China with a view to blocking sales of the product." · 

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