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Apple has reportedly set March as the target for the release of an LTE-equipped quad-core iPad model.
Bloomberg cited industry sources in reporting that Apple was preparing to unveil the next version of its top-selling tablet in the coming months. The report suggests that production of the iPad 3 is set to increase in February in preparation for the March release.
The report described a significantly upgraded iPad model, which will sport a high-definition screen as well as wireless broadband and quad-core processor. Apple has opted to use its own ARM-based processors for recent iPhone and iPad models.
The reported time frame coincides with previous iPhone releases, including last year's 11 March US release for the iPad 2.
Apple's rumoured release comes after some of the company's chief competitors unveiled their own tablet designs. Android tablet vendors such as Asus and Sony showcase new tablet designs at CES 2012, while Research In Motion released an update for its Playbook tablet, which adds several key productivity features.
Microsoft is also looking to make a play for the tablet market with the release of Windows 8 and its Metro interface.
Apple has also seen increased competition from firms traditionally associated with the e-book market. Amazon recently introduced the web-enabled Kindle Fire tablet, while Barnes and Noble updated its Nook Tablet reader to include a web browser.