iPad rumors suggest that future versions of the mobile device could be smaller and come with dual docking ports. Apple is keeping predictably quiet about its tablet plans, however.
Apple iPad rumors are circulating yet again across the Web, focused this
time on potential features for a second generation of the device.
Much of the fuel from those rumors comes from Mission
a tech-repair company that blogged an image of an iPad rear cover
equipped with dual docking ports. By late afternoon Oct. 7, the Mission
Repair's blog seemed to be out of commission, possibly due to heavy traffic.
such as Apple Insider,
however, reposted the image. Whether dual docking
ports will actually be present in the second-generation iPad is a question to
which only Apple knows the answer, but a second, landscape-oriented dock could
allow users to watch video on the iPad while it sits in the connector.
"If the pictured component is legitimate," read an Oct. 7 post on
Apple Insider, "it's unknown whether it is a part from an upcoming
next-generation iPad, or if it is an unused concept from an early prototype
before the iPad was introduced early this year."
Apple Insider and
other news outlets
have also been reporting an analyst prediction, from
Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, that more than 45 million iPad units will
be shipped in 2011. Apple could also be readying a 7-inch iPad for launch in early
2011. White apparently made his
predictions after speaking with component suppliers in Taipei.
Rampant speculation about the next-generation iPad and next-year iPad sales
is the inevitable offshoot of the tablet's popularity. According to a research
note from Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan, sales of iPads are
currently outpacing sales of both iPhones and DVD
McGranahan suggested that tablets are likely to become the country's
fourth-largest consumer electronics category, after televisions, smartphones
The iPad's current sales rate is 4.5 million units per quarter, McGranahan
wrote, predicting that sales of the device will reach about $9 billion in 2011.
However, the question will be whether Apple can maintain that sort of sales
pace once competing tablets, many from top-shelf competitors such as Samsung,
begin to saturate the market over the next few quarters. The Android-running
Samsung Galaxy Tab is scheduled to debut in fall 2010, on four carriers, and
both Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion are working on tablets that use
proprietary operating systems. Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer has also said Windows-powered tablets will start entering the
market by the end-year holidays.