Last-Minute News Before the iPad Is Unveiled

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In just minutes, at 12:45 p.m. EST/9:45 a.m. PST today, The Motley Fool's top analysts will be hosting a live blog breaking down what Apple's iPad 3 press conference means for investors. The best part? They'll also be taking any questions you have about the tablet and about Apple as an investment. Make sure to set a reminder to come back to Fool.com for all your iPad 3 news and analysis!

At 1 p.m. today, Tim Cook will take the stage in San Francisco and unveil the next iPad. As with all Apple (NAS: AAPL) events, what he'll say is the subject of intense interest and scrutiny. However, while Apple is the master of fueling speculation and keeping product secrets hidden until they're unveiled at company events, we are seeing some last-minute tidbits of tremendous interest to Apple investors. Here are a few last-minute reports that could shape today's announcement.

A touch surprise?
Apple's invites always include tongue-in-cheek references to what they'll be unveiling. The iPhone 4S invite included a series of app icons that finished with "Let's talk iPhone," an allusion to its unveiling of Siri. Today's invite says, "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

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The "We have something you really to see" part has widely been believed to be an allusion to Apple producing a "retina display" quality screen on the iPad. Along those lines, it's widely speculated the iPad 3 will be named the iPad HD. However, the reasoning for the "And touch" part of the invite has been something of a mystery.

Late reports from the Guardian point out that a company named Senseg has an e-touch technology that Apple could license to add texture to objects on the screen when touched. With Apple pushing areas that are logical extensions of this technology, such as textbooks, that report could be spot-on. If the rumor proves true, this would be a pretty big feature to slip past any "leaks" across Apple and its supply chain for so long.

Not "worldpad"?
One of the improvements of the iPhone 4S was becoming a one-model "world phone" that used a Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) baseband processor to connect to varying mobile phone networks. It would seem to be a logical extension that the iPad would thus become a "worldpad" with a single model. However, sources to the website The Verge are claiming there will be distinctly different models for Verizon (NYS: VZ) and AT&T (NYS: T) and an international model.

A couple key points on this report: First of all, the whole selling proposition on LTE is largely aimed at America. While there was an outcry over American wireless companies' rollout of faster 3G data services, they've raced away in the global race to build out LTE networks. An international model using a chip similar to the iPhone 4S without LTE capability makes a lot of sense. The second major point is that limitations in LTE chipsets and the spectrum owned by AT&T versus Verizon could be the source of fragmentation. I'm not a radio engineer at Qualcomm, but with LTE chips still in their infancy, I can see why separate Verizon and AT&T models may be necessary.

No quads for you
Another area of heavy speculation has been whether Apple would unveil a quad-core processor. As I wrote about yesterday, this could have huge marketing implications for the mobile chip industry. Companies such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) are pushing dual-core mobile chips, while NVIDIA has forged away with a quad-core mobile chip of its own.

Late reports are coalescing around the notion Apple will go with a dual-core upgraded "A5X" processor. While investors hoping for the latest and greatest from Apple might be disappointed, in the end most mobile applications can't effectively use the added processing cores at this juncture, and Qualcomm's dual-core offerings stack up pretty well against NVIDIA's quad-cores. Long story short, as a user of a smartphone, Apple's decision shouldn't have a huge effect on the iPhone's capabilities. More importantly, though, they'll now control the marketing narrative on whether mobile phones really need more processing cores.

That's it for our recap on last-minute iPad news and rumors. If you're interested in another way to play the iPad's growth beyond Apple, make sure to check out the free report we've prepared, "3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution," which details three great ideas which are inside the iPad and iPhone and are riding Apple's growth. To get your own copy of the report, just click here now. It's free!

At the time this article was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of NVIDIA. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and NVIDIA. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing puts on NVIDIA. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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