Apple's next-generation iPad will feature front- and rear-facing cameras and possibly an SD card slot, if alleged photos of its case are to be believed.
Almost exactly a year after rumors about the first iPad began to reach
critical mass, a fresh round of whispering suggests history will repeat itself
with the next-generation iPad, widely expected to debut early in 2011.
One of the more persistent rumors is that the next iPad will feature front-
and rear-facing cameras for video conferencing. As
first reported Dec. 9 by tech blog iLounge
, Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen
MacTop Electronics has created a slimmer iPad case with a rear-facing camera
hole, which it says will fit the second-generation device.
The iLounge posting came with an image of the case, which also features a
larger speaker. Also on Dec. 9, the
blog MacRumors posted another set of images
, ostensibly of a
second-generation iPad case, with holes for a rear-facing camera and possibly
an SD card.
A Dec. 7 article from DigiTimes suggested that Apple's manufacturers could
be prepping the next-generation iPad for shipment within the next 100 days.
That report sourced unnamed "Taiwan-based component makers" who indicated "that
the iPad 2 will ship as soon as the end of February in 2011."
However, as with any Apple-related rumor, there exists a substantial margin
of error. In August, DigiTimes Research predicted that the next-generation iPad
would feature a 7-inch screen and ARM
Cortex-A9-based processor. But during an October earnings call, Apple CEO Steve
Jobs dismissed 7-inch tablets as inferior to 10-inch ones, such as the iPad.
Whether or not Apple eventually produces a 7-inch tablet, that particular
episode illustrated the cycle of rumor and official refutation that
traditionally marks Apple's relationship with the media. Apple is unlikely to
comment about any next-generation iPad before it hosts an official unveiling.
Research company Strategy Analytics estimates the iPad's share of the tablet
market at 95.5 percent, a number sure to change as more Android-based
competitors emerge on the scene. Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard and
Microsoft are also prepping tablets that run either Windows or a proprietary operating
In the meantime, the iPad continues its robust selling pattern through the
holiday season. "With the powerful combination of Apple's iPad, iPhone 4,
refreshed iPod/iPod Touch portfolio, the new MacBook Air and Apple TV, we
believe Apple is positioned for a big holiday season this year," Brian White,
an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, wrote in a Nov. 29 research note.
"Regardless of the overall strength during Black Friday and the holiday season
at large, we believe Apple has the products that consumers demand."
But the bigger question for the media, as always, is what products Apple has
in the pipeline.