The iPad 2 - just round the corner?
According to DigiTimes, the Chinese company that makes Apple's iPad - Foxconn has been told to ship the iPad 2 in the next 100 days with initial shipments of 400,000 to 600,000 units. This translates as expected shipment of Apple's next-gen iPad in February followed by a launch in April. While this report may be true there is no guarantee since it doesn't make sense for Apple to launch a new improved iPad just months after the holiday season. Foxconn has declined to comment on its products or clients.
What's the Hurry?
Will you hold out for the next iPad? And how about consumers who just got an iPad or are planning to get one during the holidays? Many Apple fanboys believe that Apple wouldn't launch a next-gen iPad so soon. There is ample supply of iPads in stores and Apple will want to move these units before it brings in the successor. Will talk of an iPad 2 make you think twice before buying the current iPad? In my opinion it makes logical sense considering the plethora of tablets hitting the market and Motorola's model tablet featuring Android 3.0 as UI coming soon. RIM's Playbook is also aiming to play spoilsport.
What to Expect?
Rumor has it that a 7' model is on its way and a new size won't cause many issues beyond a few optimizations from App Store developers. On the other hand, it will help iPad reach a lower price point for consumers and might make Amazon drop Kindle's price even lower to compete.
Apple's Retina Display might make its way to the iPad and seems an inevitable upgrade that is going to force early adopters to jump in line. That screen is addictive as anyone who uses an iPhone 4 will testify.
FaceTime on the iPad will ensure Steve's promise of "millions of FaceTime devices by the end of the year" is honored, supported by the new iPod Touch featuring a front facing camera as well. Devices that aren't phones (everything but iPhone) will also be able to use FaceTime.
While Apple generally waits two to three refreshes before revamping hardware appearances, a thinner iPad may be in line and if it is indeed a smaller screen size, it just might be a good idea to shake things up a bit a little. Stay tuned for updates.