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What to expect from Apple’s iPad 3

Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) next generation iPad is widely expected to be unveiled in the United States overnight by new Apple CEO Tim Cook.

While no-one outside a small number of people at Apple and its component makers know exactly what will be announced, it seems clear that the iPad 3 will continue Apple’s dominance of the tablet space.

Expected features include:

Retina Display: Like the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPad will have a display that significantly reduces any pixilation. Put simply: a much sharper, clearer display.

4G connectivity: So far, Apple has eschewed next-generation LTE capability because the technology was new and would consume too much power. However, with years of research and improvements to LTE chips, it appears Apple is ready to commit to LTE and the higher data speeds it provides.

Hardware and Siri: The iPad will come with a new processor. No matter the number of eventual processor cores – there’s still quite a bit of debate whether it’ll have two or four – the processor should offer a sizeable performance upgrade. Along with the hardware upgrade could come support for Siri – Apple’s personal digital assistant.

Critics will point out that competitors already have implemented many of these features, but that doesn’t matter. Apple has been soundly trouncing higher-priced tablet offerings based on Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android. However, this major hardware upgrade does further push Apple’s advantage over where it has proved more vulnerable: the low-end price points in tablets. Having all these features further distinguishes Apple from low-priced competitors such as Amazon.com’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindle Fire.

Put it all together, and the newest iPad not only offers a larger hardware upgrade than the iPad 2 — enticing existing iPad users to upgrade – but it also pushes Apple’s premium tablet perception. Not only that, but Apple could also follow a strategy much as it has in phones, by selling the older iPad model at a more discounted price. Although this approach wouldn’t be able to fully close the pricing gap with the Kindle Fire, the iPad 2 could conceivably continue in production at a reduced $399 (or lower) price point.

Check back later today for Fool technology expert Eric Bleeker’s take on whether he still thinks Apple represents a good buy for investors at today’s price.

If you are looking for ASX investing ideas, look no further than “The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2012.” In this free report, Investment Analyst Dean Morel names his top pick for 2012…and beyond. Click here now to find out the name of this small but growing telecommunications company. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited period of time.

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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