Apple's next-generation iPad could add a USB port, according to reports. That adds to other hardware rumors surrounding the best-selling tablet.
Rumors surrounding Apple's next-generation iPad
continue, with the newest ones suggesting the device-yet to be officially
unveiled-will feature a USB port.
"Talked with a colleague while working with some
ODM [original design manufacturer] vendors connected with Apple," Eldar
Murtazin, editor-in-chief of the Mobile Review blog, wrote in a Dec. 28 Tweet
reprinted on Apple
. "He is a research guy. According to his sources, iPad2 will have a
That echoes earlier reports from Economic Daily
News, a Chinese economic and business publication, that Apple's next-generation
tablet will include the port. Other rumors have focused on the upcoming iPad's
supposed addition of front- and rear-facing cameras for video conferencing, a
higher-resolution screen, and possibly a slimmer and lighter form factor.
Things have changed since April 2010 when Apple
unleashed the first iPad into a relatively untouched consumer tablet PC market;
the company faces substantial competition in 2011.
In addition to a growing family of Android-based
tablets, erstwhile Apple rivals Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion are
planning devices that run proprietary operating systems. Microsoft executives
have also suggested that a line of Windows-based tablets will make an
appearance along with Intel's upcoming "Oak Trail" Atom processor.
According to one analyst, however, Apple continues
to hold some decided advantages in the tablet space.
"Many of the brands looking to compete in the slate
market are strictly hardware companies," Richard Shim, an analyst at
in a Dec. 28 report
. "They do not usually manage, promote, qualify and
support developers. Those competencies take time to properly mature, but
would-be iPad rivals have to learn fast or risk Apple running further away with
the market. We should not forget that Apple is leveraging the success it built
up with iPhone developers for the iPad."
However, another analyst believes the iPad could
potentially prove a sleek and magical Frankenstein's monster for its creator.
"The iPad has successfully integrated the
functionality of a slimmed-down notebook into a media player form factor and
has effectively rendered a significant portion of the Mac (and potentially the
iPhone) product family obsolete," Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher
& Company, wrote
in a Dec. 29 research note
. "This presents a serious problem as iPhones and
Macs generated 65 percent of Apple's total revenue in CY09."
Nonetheless, sales of the iPad apparently remained
robust through the holiday season. "Computer hardware ranks as the top-growing
category for the holiday season ... with a 25 percent increase versus last year,"
a Dec. 19 note from research firm comScore
. "Purchases of handheld devices
(such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers drove much of that
Shoppers are not dissuaded, in other words, by the
idea that their first-generation iPad may be eclipsed within a few weeks by a
device with new hardware additions.