Following yesterday’s appearance of photos showing a purported iPad 3 back panel, a number of new images of a similar part have appeared online, joined by several new rumors. Citing unnamed sources, AllThingsD reports that Apple will debut the iPad 3 in the first week of March at a special event in San Francisco. The typically well-connected publication speculates that the event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and that the device itself will be available roughly one week following the event. Separately, The Verge—again citing unnamed sources—claims that the A6 CPU found inside the iPad 3 is not a quad-core chip, but instead a dual-core model like its A5 predecessor, contrary to a prior report citing code found in iOS 5.1. Notably, code found in new iPhone carrier profiles suggests that iOS 5.1 will be released on March 9.
In terms of images, Cult of Mac has posted a number of high-resolution photos of purported iPad 3 components, including multiple shots of a back panel that appears to be mostly identical to the one pictured yesterday. In addition, Apple.pro (Translated Link) has posted additional photos of a similar back shell part, while Macotakara has posted an image of a purported Sharp-made LCD panel which is said to be made for the iPad 3. As previously reported by iLounge, the iPad 3 is expected to be largely similar to the iPad 2 in exterior design—although be ever-so-slightly thicker—but is also expected to sport a faster processor, an improved camera, and a Retina-class display.
Update: The New York Times’ Bits blog is now reporting—citing separate sources briefed on Apple’s plans—that the next-generation iPad will be unveiled at an event in early March, and that the device looks very similar to the current iPad 2.