Apple iPad Cases Suggest Camera, Larger Speaker
A new line of Apple iPad cases spark rumors of an updated version of the tablet, with a camera and larger speaker.Online retailer Alibaba.com issued silicon cases for an "iPad 2," sporting a larger space for the device's speaker as well as a space for a camera on the back of the tablet. The cases, which are offered in several pastel colors, prompted a blizzard of speculation on the Web as to the upcoming features of the popular gadget, a 9.7-inch wireless tablet computer that has injected new life into the struggling tablet market. Although a slew of competing products, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet, have entered the market in the past months, Apple's iPad is likely to dominate the market for some time, various reports indicate. The iPad will command 44 percent of the total tablet market by 2012, down from the 95 percent market share Apple currently enjoys, with tablets based on Google's Android operating system nipping at its heels with 39 percent, according to researchers at Piper Jaffray. Apple sold 4.2 million iPads in the fourth quarter, but as Android-enabled devices gain sophistication and polish (Apple's calling cards), the company will be faced with impressing an ever more demanding audience of mobile device users.
A note from research firm comScore found that interest around the iPad is helping drive holiday sales and boosting overall consumer electronics sales. "Computer [h]ardware ranks as the top growing category for the holiday season to date with a 25-percent increase versus last year," read the Dec. 19 note from comScore. "Purchases of handheld devices (such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers drove much of the growth."