We’re undoubtedly nearing the announcement of whatever Apple has up its sleeve for the next generation iPad, and now new claims suggest we’re just a few short weeks away from the big day.

John Paczkowski of AllThingsD now believes that Apple will hold a press event first week in March, with the iPad 3/iPad 2S/iPad Super Epic Edition being made available for purchase soon after. If the iPad 2 release is any kind of indicator, we wouldn’t expect to have to wait any longer than two weeks from the announcement before queuing up to buy one.

As is always the case, Apple refused to comment on the speculation, though it is an open secret that the next generation iPad is very much on the horizon…

Paczkowski also claims that the iPad 3 will sport much the same level of specification as we have come to expect following the numerous rumors and counter-rumors that have been circulating on the internet of late. A new, faster CPU and a high-res Retina Display are on the cards, along with a similar form factor to the one we have grown to love since the introduction of the iPad 2. The addition of that new screen may call for a slightly thicker body, however.

The announcement is expected to take place in San Francisco, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a venue that Apple has favored regularly in the past.

It’s also worth noting that Paczkowski has been a source of accurate information such as this in the past. He was able to successfully predict several iPhone announcements as well as last year’s iPad 2 event. We see no reason why his radar would be too far off on this occasion.

It doesn’t look like we have much longer to wait now, folks!