Apple's next-generation iPad will feature dual cameras and perhaps a slimmer body, according to a new Reuters report that echoes old rumors.
One day after a handful of tech blogs leaked alleged photos of the
next-generation iPad's case, a Reuters report suggested that front- and
rear-facing camera modules will appear with the device, along with a
"One source said the revamped model would feature cameras on the front
and back of the device," read
the Dec. 10 Reuters article, "enabling Apple's FaceTime video
conferencing service. Another source said it would be slimmer, lighter and have
a better resolution display than the first iPad."
Another source apparently told the news service that "a significantly
smaller iPad" is also in the works.
In October, Apple CEO Steve Jobs dismissed
7-inch tablets as fundamentally inferior to the 9.7-inch iPad. That seemed to
refute August rumors, courtesy of DigiTimes Research, that the next-generation
iPad would feature a 7-inch screen and ARM
If 2011 rolls around and Apple still declines to produce a 7-inch iPad, it
would illustrate yet again the seemingly endless cycle of rumor and official
refutation that marks Apple's traditional relationship with the media and
blogosphere. However, if Apple does produce a smaller tablet, it would make
Jobs' October speech an example of spectacular misdirection.
Whatever the case, analysts seem to think that Apple will announce a new
iPad in January, followed by actual market appearance in April-the first-year
anniversary of the original iPad.
"It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in
February," Steven Tseng, an RBS analyst in Taipei,
told Reuters. "I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in
January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April."
On Dec. 9, the
blog iLounge posted images of an alleged iPad case, produced by Chinese
manufacturer Shenzhen MacTop Electronics, with a rear-facing camera hole and a
slimmer body. That same day, the
blog MacRumors posted another set of images, these of an ostensible iPad
case with holes for a rear-facing camera and possible 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" as citing
that February 2011 date.
Whatever the ultimate release date and features, the next-generation iPad
will enter a far more crowded market than its predecessor. The 7-inch Samsung
Galaxy Tab has reportedly sold more than 1 million units, with other
Android-based tablets reportedly in the works. Research In Motion is expected
to release its 7-inch PlayBook tablet in early 2011, aimed primarily at
enterprise users, while Hewlett-Packard is planning tablets that run both
Windows 7 and its recently acquired Palm WebOS.
According to research company Strategy Analytics, the iPad holds some 95.5
percent of the tablet market, but that number will almost certainly change as
those rivals arrive on store shelves. By upgrading its hardware and software,
though, Apple could maintain its market share lead over the next several
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.