DigiTimes, the fount of all manufacture rumours related to Apple it seems, have reported that Foxconn (Apple’s manufacturing partner) have been “notified” that shipping of Apple’s iPad 2 should commence “within 100 days” and should be in volumes of between 400,000 and 600,000 units initially.
Apparently Apple planned to ship the iPad 2 even earlier than this. Something we have hinted might be the case in the past. However, it seems that the firmware of the iPad 2 is still not quite there yet. Hence a delay to February, which has also taken the pressure off manufacture.
The iPad 2 is set to be a fairly minor upgrade, relatively speaking, with at least one camera (most likely for Facetime), and increased memory being the major features expected. Not much else seems likely. Perhaps a CPU speed bump if we are lucky, and a slightly better quality display.
This update would seem primarily to bring the iPad in line with offerings that other manufacturers have already brought to market (like the Samsung Galaxy Tab), or others yet to appear from the likes of Google. All of those sport cameras, for example.
Analysis of the manufacture and sales channels between Apple and its suppliers hints at Apple winding down production of the current iPad, but still expecting to shift serious numbers into February 2011. Which may hint at a March launch for the iPad 2. Although others think April may be more likely.
In my opinion Apple can’t get the iPad 2 out of the door quick enough. The features on the iPad 2 will excite buyers who have held off so far, and I think it is likely that we can expect a slightly quicker update cycle for the iPad 3. Perhaps bringing the annual iPad launch gradually closer to Christmas each year. In 2011 this will be about 6 months after the iPhone 5 has shipped, and when new silicon is available for a much more significant update of the iPad’s processing and graphics power.
Are you expecting the new iPad 2 to drop closer to Christmas, or closer to April? Have your say in the comments…