Reports that Apple has planned an iPad 2 event for March 2 were confirmed today by multiple news outlets.

Both Fortune and The Loop reported that Apple has sent out invitations to next week's event. Held at the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts in San Francisco Calif., the event will take place Thursday, March 2nd at 10:00 AM. The choice of venue isn't surprising, as Apple has used the space to announce products in the past. The original iPad, for example, was unveiled there in Jan. 2010.

The invitation features a partial image of the iPad, along with text inviting journalists to Come see what 2011 will be the year of.

Though speculation about the iPad 2 has been rampant for months, Apple didn't offer a hint of the iPad 2's existence, let alone what it would look like or how it would be announced.

Yuanta Securities Co. had reported earlier this week that production bottlenecks would delay the iPad 2, but All Things D reported that it would come on time.

Yuanta's research note speculated that last-minute design alterations would delay the iPad 2's launch from April to June. Other reports said that similar concerns would shelve the release of the iPhone 5 to September. Reuters later refuted the story, noting that sources familiar with the matter said that the Yuanta report was incorrect.

The timely release of the iPad 2 is important for Apple, which will face increased competition from other companies looking to release their own tablet. Currently one of the most visible contenders, Motorola's Xoom tablet, is set to launch Feb. 24. Another major challenger, HP's TouchPad, previously expected this summer, might end up being released this April.

According to International Data Corporation, Apple's iPad accounted for 87 percent of the tablet market during the third quarter of 2010. This is a number sure to decline as other tablets come to market.

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