Rumors are flying thick and fast about the possible features of Apple’s next generation tablet, dubbed iPad 3, and if the new tablet debuts on March 7, as rumored, in a ‘media event’ in San Francisco, it could possibly ring the death knell of rival tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire and BlackBerry PlayBook.

This new iPad is expected to be packaged with some of the nicest specs ever seen, including a high resolution Retina display, multi-core processor, 1080p video recording, Siri voice controls, iOS 5.1 and 4G LTE option.

No wonder, the words is out that iPad 3 can kill rival tablets like Blackberry PlayBook and Amazon Kindle Fire.

RIM is already coping with a $485 million loss and has an unsold inventory of Playbook tablets. With newly released BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0, the company has high hopes of selling those tablets that are stocking in its inventory for months.

However, if iPad 3 comes out in early March, all the efforts made by RIM can go in vain. Playbook has been criticized for not having a native e-mail app. Now it has got one in Playbook OS 2.0 and though the new OS has some useful features, but it could be too late for them. The original schedule to launch Playbook OS 2.0 was late 2011. RIM is already late on the schedule and the new OS is not surprising at all and has nothing exciting to offer to BlackBerry fans. Apple, on the other hand always, never disappoints its fans by surprising them with new features in their iOS upgrades. And, though in terms of hardware, the PlayBook is impressive (5-megapixel rear-facing and 3-megapixel front facing cameras, 1 GHz dual-core processor, etc.), in terms of software, Playbook pales in comparison to the iPad. Especially when it comes to user experience.

And, let’s not forget the Kindle Fire, which made a lot of hype in Q4 2011. Though Kindle Fire (which no doubt is a compelling e-book platform as well as a versatile tablet) could be Amazon’s best selling product (as per the company's own statement) the joy of Amazon might be short-lived. The Silk browser in Kindle Fire is a refreshing change and the device excels at media management. But, it lacks camera and has poor connectivity. In comparison, iPad 3 is expected to come with 4G LTE option, thanks to Qualcomm’s latest Gobi chipset, which is now available. Also, iPad 3 is expected to have 8 megapixel rear-facing shooter capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps. And, its secondary front-facing camera is expected to be bumped up to 1.3 megapixel and promise HD-quality FaceTime. Kindle Fire also falls short because of its 8 GB non-expandable storage memory, while an iPad comes with up to 64GB onboard storage option.

PlayBook and Kindle Fire are lower-end competitors for the upcoming iPad. They have less features compared to iPad and hence are priced lower too. Not surprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook had proposed that Kindle Fire will help Apple to boost their iPad sales instead of being a threat to it (as people will get introduced into the tablet market with Kindle Fire, but after sometime they will go for higher level iPad tablets). The March release of iPad 3 could prove Cook to be right.

A new survey from deal aggregation site also revealed that more than half of Kindle Fire owners are likely to buy iPad 3 when the latter releases in the market. According to Yung Trang, president and editor-in-chief of, it could mean that Kindle Fire users are unhappy with their tablet or it could simply mean that they believe iPad's user experience remains unparalleled.

Whatever be the reason, the debut of iPad 3 could ring the death knell of Kindle Fires and PlayBooks. But that's just an opinion. What do you think? Will iPad 3 take the blaze out of Kindle Fire and send the RIM tablet packing to the playground? Or will they still continue to thrive? Leave your comments below.

(Reported by Johnny Wills, Edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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