As we get closer to the first anniversary of the iPad’s release, it’s inevitable that rumors surrounding the second-generation device will begin to surface, with many guessing how the iPad 2 update will look, what it will be made from, and what it will do. Here’s Touch Reviews roundup of some of the rumors so far, and what we can expect from the upcoming update for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
With Facetime now on the Mac, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch, the iPad’s beginning to feel a little left out. I’m guessing out of all the rumors so far, this one’s probably one of the most likely to become a reality. Facetime, of course, means a front-facing camera, however, some reports have also suggested that the device may also include a 5-megapixel camera on the rear.
I’m not sure the latter is all that likely; although it would be handy at times, how many people are going to pull out their iPad to take a few snaps? I know that many rival tablet devices have a camera on the rear, however, Apple doesn’t often do something just because competitors are doing it.
A recent report from AppleInsider talks about the predictions of Wedge Partner analyst Brian Blair, who says that the next-gen iPad will be a “world mode” device with both GSM and CDMA radios. The chip would mean that one iPad model would be compatible with various wireless carriers using different wireless technology. The device has recently been made available through carriers AT&T and Verizon, however, because the 3G model isn’t compatible with Verizon’s CDMA network, a mobile hotspot device is needed to allow for a connection over Wi-Fi.
I’d say a GSM-CDMA chip isn’t too unlikely – many would-be iPad users may be put off by the thought of having to carry around a mobile hotspot accessory to use data from the carrier of their choice.
Thinner, Lighter Design
Analyst Brian Blair who predicts the rumor above also indicated that the next iPad will be thinner and made from one piece of metal, with a similar manufacturing process to that of the unibody aluminum MacBooks.
Now this one seems very likely. Apple always strives to improve upon its products, and often that means thinner, lighter, streamlined designs. Many critics already complain that the device is too heavy and too bulky, and I’m sure it’s safe to say Apple has been hard at work to make it the most desirable tablet on the market.
However, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an iPad with a smaller screen – Steve Jobs already quashed rumors of a 7-inch device during a quarterly earnings conference call, saying, “The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software.”
When the current iPad was first released it sold out in many stores incredibly quickly, and countless users went home empty handed having to wait until more stock was available. With “iPad 2,” this may not be the case.
A report says that there will be several suppliers for the new iPad allowing Apple to “ramp up” shipments of the device upon its release. Three companies are rumored to have already received certification from Apple and will begin shipping parts for the device in December.
This one’s a no-brainer. The current iPad was a nightmare to get hold of for many when it was first released, especially for those of us in the U.K. Apple will surely work hard to ensure there are more of the 2nd-gen devices to go around next time.
Carbon Fibre Housing
One rumor suggests that the next iPad will not be made from aluminum, and that instead, the device will sport an ultra-strong carbon fibre housing. Cult of Mac recently reported on a new patent application for a “Reinforced Device Housing” filed by Apple that details “an outer casing for an electronic device composed of “layered fiber-in-matrix type material,” i.e. carbon fiber re-inforced polymer.”
It’s not clear whether the carbon fibre housing is indeed for the iPad, however, the illustration on the patent looks very much like the rear shell of Apple’s tablet.
A carbon fibre iPad certainly sounds very desirable, but I’m not sure it’s all that likely just yet – maybe later on down the line.
Now that many of us are used to the luxury of a Retina display in our iPhones and iPod Touches, we’re anticipating a nice large Retina display in the next iPad. Slash Gear reported back in October on the prospect of this one, and I’d like to think we can expect this with the new device next year.
As an iPhone 4 user, switching to the iPad can often be a little disappointing when I stare at its slightly ugly display – it’s just seems outdated now – and I for one am keeping my fingers crossed for a Retina display iPad next year.
Another typical Apple move for new devices is often increased storage, and many reports have claimed the iPad will be available with larger storage options next time around. The new MacBook Airs have also fueled this rumor, as they use the same flash storage chips found in their tablet siblings.
Apple is already using 128GB flash chips in its new MacBook Airs, so it wouldn’t be too much trouble to stick them in the iPad. This is another rumor that I’d say we can safely expect.
What Do You Want?
So there’s a few of the features that are rumored to be introduced in the second-generation iPad. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Retina display and a thinner, lighter design – these are high up on my wish-list for iPad 2, and will be deciding factors when I’m thinking about whether or not to upgrade.
We’d love to hear what you want from Apple’s next tablet device. Please leave us a comment and let us know!
[image via ZDNet]