After months of rumour and speculation, an invite was issued yesterday confirming the event at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco at 10am PST (6pm GMT) on Wednesday, March 7.
The invite simply says that Apple has "something you really have to see - and touch". It is expected that Apple chief executive Tim Cook will lead the presentation, which will be live streamed to a UK press event in London's Kings Cross.
Apple expertly planned its timing with the invite, coming right in the middle of Mobile World Congress, the industry gathering at which Apple never attends, but also stealing the thunder of Android-maker Google's keynote address at the conference. The gloves are most definitely off...
The overriding expectation about what will be announced at the event is the iPad 3, dovetailing with the past three years of activity around the tablet computer - spring 2010 saw the original iPad launch and go on sale, followed by the iPad 2 in spring 2011.
In terms of specs, the iPad 3 is widely rumoured to have a "super screen" LCD display and the image on the invite, featuring a crisp and glowing iPad screen, would appear to back this up.
Previous leaks of supposed iPad 3 casings appeared to suggest an increased battery size and slightly redesigned form factor to support a new back-lit screen boasting a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution, a massive rise on iPad 3's 1024 x 768.
Other speculation has indicated that the device will have a hugely powerful A6 quad-core processor and be embedded with 4G LTE connectivity, a new mobile spectrum technology that supports superfast mobile broadband and rich media services. It is also likely that the tablet will come with Siri, the voice-activated assistant that debuted in Apple's iPhone 4S last year.
Apple is expected to sign up a range of graphics-focused apps to accompany the launch of the new tablet to show off its screen and processing power, similarly to the way it picked Epic Games' Infinity Blade 2 for the iPhone 4S launch.
But following the surprise announcement of just the iPhone 4S by Apple instead of the iPhone 5 in late 2011, some commentators have suggested that we may be about to get the iPad 2 HD as an interim step forward for the product line.
Considering the history of iPad launches, this seems unlikely, but possible insight could be gained from what else might be coming to the tablet range this year.
Rumours of a smaller screen iPad being in the works just don't seem to be going away. The iPad Mini, if we can call it that, was recently reported by The Wall Street Journal, which has a pretty attuned radar for what is coming up.
It is thought that the new iPad model will have a smaller 8-inch screen and a cheaper price to compete with the many popular Android tablets, such as the smaller screen Samsung Galaxy Tabs and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Sources claim that Apple is already testing panels for the iPad Mini with various screen manufacturers.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the strategy would mirror the approach taken with the iPod, as Apple released a number of different shapes and sizes of the MP3 player over the years to keep the line fresh (although that approach was not replicated with the iPhone).
Apple needs to be careful of its position in the tablet market. The iPad held more than 61.5% of worldwide tablet shipments in the third quarter of 2011, but that was down from 68.3% in the second quarter, according to market researcher IDC. It is still the market leader, but other firms are starting to catch up.
As the production of the iPad Mini is not expected to commence until later in the year, with the product potentially being announced alongside the rumoured Apple connected TV set, it seems fair to assume that next week's event will see the introduction of just the iPad 3.
The product is likely to go on sale two weeks after the launch in the US, UK, Japan and Australia, before expanding to other territories. Pricing is likely to be broadly similar to previous iPad launches for 3G and WiFi models, although it is unclear whether the 4G version will be more expensive.