With the iPad 3 release date possibly occuring Wednesday, rumors are swirling and excitement building throughout the international technology community about the launch of Apple's new tablet. 

From mestastasizing speculation that the iPad 3 will instead be called the iPad HD, to scores of fans already planning to camp out at Apple stores ahead of the iPad 3 release date, there is no shortage of buzz about the launch of Apple's newest device.

The speculation about the iPad 3 release date being March 7 arose when Apple announced last week that it will host an invitation-only event at 10 a.m. in San Francisco that industry observers believe will be a launch party for the next-generation tablet.

The company issued an invitation to select media outlets last week, offering details about the event and stating the following: We have something you really have to see. And touch. The message was accompanied by a photo of an iPad with a finger pushing a button on its touchscreen.

But ahead of the big day, there is little in the way of consensus about just what else beyond just such a touchsreen the iPad 3 will contain as far as specs, though rumors abound.

From persistent claims that an iPad Mini, coming in at about 7 inches, may also be announced tomorrow, to a New York Times story that suggests the iPad 3's release may herald the decline of personal computers' prominence, the expected iPad 3 release date has the feel of a potential paradigm shift in the making.

But that doesn't mean that high-minded projections and big-picture analysis are all that have been written in the final days of the lead-up to the iPad 3 release date, as discussions of the glass being used on its touchscreen, the exact technical specs of its internal camera, the networks it will be able to run on and more have filled tech-related RSS feeds for weeks.

One thing we do know is that if tomorrow's iPad 3 release date proves to be another letdown for Apple fans--like Oct. 4, 2011, when the company announced the iPhone 4s instead of the long-anticipated iPhone 5--and instead we get just an iPad HD, no one should be too surprised, as a number of tech prognosticators have been predicting just such an outcome in recent days.

Apple will still sell millions of iPad HD's if they do hit the market, but it may not be the best move to again build so much hype only to deny all its rabid fans the mega-device they've been expecting.

Either way, time is almost running out for fortune-telling and analyzing shipping records. We will soon know exactly what the next Apple tablet is like, as we'll all have iPad 3s or HDs or Minis--some version of the newest in a long line of massively-hyped, must-have gadgets--in our hands and this period of mystery will be forgotten.