iPad 3 Release Date Announced March 7 in San Francisco

Apple has announced the iPad 3 will be unveiled March 7, in San Francisco, Calif., ending the speculation that it could be first demonstrated in New York.

The exclusive invitations to the event were sent out Tuesday by the Cupertino-based company, and sent out to key people across the country, according to AllThingsD.com.

The much-anticipated unveiling will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at the Yerba Buence Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

"We have something you really have to see. And touch," reads the invitation, which came via email.

The announcement came just as other media outlets speculated that the iPad 3 could be released in New York City, which would differ from California, their usual choice for these types of big events.

Apple's previous Mountain Lion briefings and Education events were New York-based, lending credence to the rumor, but it was ultimately discredited with the tech giant's broadcast.

The release date and place haven't been the only rumors swirling around the iPad 3, though. The technologically savvy have been speculating for months about the new advantages of Apple's latest tablet.

A front glass shot of what could be an iPad 3 has been circulating around the Internet recently, leading many to believe that the next iPad could look almost identical to Apple's iPad 2.

"If the purported iPad 3 front glass spy shot on the right is an indication, the third generation iPad will sport almost identical appearance to its predecessor," wrote the 9to5Mac.com about the photo.

The iPad 3 screen could be made of indium gallium zinc oxide, however, which is different from the iPad 2's screen in that it could display full HD quality content, according to DigiTimes.

Aesthetics may be the smallest of changes, though. An updated processor could mean faster and more powerful iPad experience, and a new battery pack means an even thinner, lighter iPad than previous models.

There has also been unconfirmed speculation that Apple could release an "iPad mini" to challenge competitors like the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has had success by targeting consumers looking to spend less money.

"Our research is pointing to the unveiling of a lower priced iPad in the first few months of 2012 that is aimed at expanding the company's market potential by tapping into a more price sensitive consumer segment," Ticonderoga Securities Analyst Brian White told DigiTimes.

We'll find out for sure March 7.