Carbon fiber bodies and 7" displays galore!
We've got a cluster of Apple rumors here, varying pretty widely in likelihood of legitimacy. First up, we've heard word that iOS 4.3 will go live on February 14 at 10 AM. We've been expecting 4.3 for a while now- it was originally tipped for a December launch. The new version of iOS will improve support for AirPlay and add in support for subscription billing, among other things.
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The third beta for 4.3 launched recently, so Apple is definitely close to a launch. We're due for another version of iOS before the next iPad's reveal. If this rumor isn't right on the mark, it'll be close.
Next, AppleInsider reports that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities has scrounged up more information about the first wave of second-gen iPads. There will be a WiFi-only model, a GSM/UMTS model and a CDMA/EVDO model. Apple plans to produce 38% WiFi, 46% GSM and 16% "Verizon" iPads.
These are analyst figures- and should be viewed as more "educated guess" than absolute truth. This would represent Apple pushing the numbers a bit. The average cost of an iPad is $600, so most users opt for WiFi in the end. Ordering nearly 2/3rds of their first wave as 3G-enabled means Apple smells a change in the winds.
Last, and least likely, this rumor from iLounge about a carbon fiber 7" iPad. A "previously accurate source" claimed that Apple has recently put in orders for a part for use in a 7" iPad. This source also heard that Apple is testing a material "similar" to carbon fiber for the iPad body.
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Last, Apple is apparently working on NFC-enabled accessories for the new iPad. The example given was a case that sends a message to your iPad to automatically hibernate when inside. Apple has the hots for NFC technology, so this may be the most likely rumor of all.