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Report Says iPad 3 In March; What Do Apple VARs See Ahead?

Report says the iPad 3 will tout a faster chip and richer graphics, but one VAR says enhancements are too 'consumer-driven' vs. 'business-driven.'

On the heels of reporting it sold a whopping 15.2 million iPads during its first fiscal quarter, it seems Apple may be prepping to grow that number as soon as next month with the third-generation release of its massively popular tablet.

All Things Digital reported Thursday that Apple is planning to release the newest version of its iPad tablet (presumably called the iPad 3) at an event it’s hosting in March. The event will be held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the mobile giant’s preferred venue for major announcements, said All Things Digital, citing sources.

An official release date for the new tablet hasn’t been revealed just yet, but if the iPad 3’s retail availability time line follows that of the iPad 2’s, the report said the device would be readily available "a week or so" after the event.

As far as specs go, the iPad 3 form factor is expected to mimic that of the iPad 2. But the next-gen device also is anticipated to run on a significantly faster chip than the predecessor’s A5, tout an improved graphical processing unit (GPU), and come equipped with a 2,048 x 1,536 "Retina" display, which would be double the 1,024 x 768 resolution delivered with the iPad 2.

All Things Digital said an Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of the event, saying the company does not comment on rumors and speculation.

While it’s almost a given that the iPad 3, like its predecessors, will create massive hype in consumer markets around the globe, Apple solution providers may not show the same excitement.

Jeffery Lauria, director of technology at iCorps Technology, a Boston-based solution provider and Apple partner, said that, with the exception of the first-gen iPad, the tablets haven’t had enough of an enterprise focus to yield significant growth for his business.

"Most applications that are used in business are designed around the first-generation iPad. The second-gen did not have a big impact on business applications or business in general," Lauria told CRN. "I expect the release of third-gen will be the same. Most enhancements are consumer-driven vs. business-driven."

Lauria did note, however, that today’s momentum behind the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend eventually may lead Apple to give the iPad a more business-centric feel. But, to achieve that, the tablet would first need to tout a more robust enterprise security model.

"I expect what will happen is as these [mobile] devices become more security-focused, the enterprise will allow only specific devices," Lauria said. "For example, if iPad 3 is more secure than prior versions or [offers] greater control from the enterprise, then I see the enterprise saying, 'Yes, bring your own device', however, only these types.'"

The iPad’s security model has been put under fire recently by Apple competitors including Hewlett-Packard, which said there was a need for a new tablet with "enterprise-grade security" that iPad and Android products simply "don’t have."

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