Dual Cameras, Better Display, Slimmer Body all Outed
Your product isn't really hot if it doesn't spawn rumors on a schedule more regular than the tides. Reuters spoke to sources within various component suppliers and found that iPad 2 production is due to start in Q1. This gels with the earlier rumor that the iPad 2 will ship to distribution centers in February.
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This next Apple slate is said to have dual cameras, with gels with virtually every single rumor we've heard about the iPad 2. At this point, if it launches without at least one camera I think we may be in for a few Scanners-style headsplosions. Another source told Reuters that the next iPad will be "slimmer, lighter and have a better resolution display."
Another rumor from China promises a "Retina Display-like LCD". This seems unlikely, as a 9.7" retinal display would involve more pixels than the iPad's processor can possibly handle. Still, we're likely to see some improvement in display quality, so I won't totally poo-poo this one.
Taiwan's Economic Daily News also reports that the iPad 2 will straight-up get a USB port. If true, this is literally the single most useful day-to-day feature I can imagine the next iPad having. But I kind of doubt it- even a second dock connector is more likely.
SinoPac Securities expects to see 60 million tablet PCs ship in 2011, with 70% of those being iPads of some sort. Apple is already selling refurbished iPads for discounts as great as $100.
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This leads me to think that we'll be seeing a major iPad sale in the first few months of 2011. Apple has excess stock to liquidate. They may continue to sell the original iPad as a 'budget' device, but they certainly won't need to maintain the current feverish rate of production.