By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 2, 2011

The fun starts at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST). A guide to the proceedings.

[UPDATE: It’s official. There will be no live webcast. My colleague Michael Copeland will be live blogging from inside the auditorium. I’ll be following the action from Brooklyn here.]

Assuming Apple AAPL provides a live webcast of the event — as it has for the last two — here’s what we’ll be looking for:

  • Steve Jobs. A classic Kara Swisher tease in All Things Digital says he’s “definitely mulling an appearance” but it’s “definitely not confirmed.” Thanks a bunch.
  • A price cut. That’s not Apple’s style. The company prefers to add features and hold price steady. But a cheaper iPad would put a terrible squeeze on its legion of imitators, which are so far charging more for less.

  • One camera or two. A front-facing camera for FaceTime video chatting is a must. A second on the back — which Cult of Mac‘s Leander Kahney reports as a done deal — would probably be less for photography than for spawning augmented reality apps.
  • One iPad or two. Will there be separate models for AT&T’s T GSM network and Verizon’s VZ CDMA, or will one iPad serve both carriers?
  • A spec surprise. Dual-core processor, 512 RAM, better speaker system, thinner chassis, smaller footprint, lighter avoir du pois, etc. Tell us something the Boy Genius hasn’t already told us.
  • Ship date. Next month is OK. This month would be better. This week would be a real coup.
  • Distribution. Will Apple stick with Best Buy BBY and its own retail stores or move into the office supply chains to try to head off threats from Hewlett Packard HPQ , Microsoft MSFT and Research in Motion RIMM ?
  • iPad 3. The smart money seems to be betting that this iPad is more a speed bump than a redesign. “For the iPad 2, don’t get your hopes up too high,” an unnamed Apple staffer told Cult of Mac’s Kahney. “The third-generation iPad is the one to make a song and dance about.”
  • MobileMe, iTunes, JointVenture, iOS 5. The less time Apple spends talking about the iPad 2 today, the more credence you might give that iPad 3 meme.

If Apple livestreams the event, I’ll be watching it from home. You could too. Tune in here before 1 p.m. EST for details.

Also on

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

You May Like