The day has arrived when Apple with 99% certainty will take the stage at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco to present the world with the new Apple iPad 2 at the event, but will it be a revolution or just an evolution in terms of features.
We have looked at all the rumors around Apple iPad 2 features over the last months and made our pre-event predictions.
News: iPad 2 is now official!
We hope you have fun reading the many rumors and predictions around the iPad 2 in this article, but if you want to see and read about the real thing here - Apple iPad 2
Apple iPad 2 pre-event features predictions
First of all lets answer our own question by saying that we are most likely looking at an evolution of the original iPad, as lets face it, there is no need for a revolution when it comes to this successful product. These are the evolutionary changes we can see coming for the iPad 2:
A thinner and lighter iPad 2
One of the criticism of the original iPad has been the size and weight in terms of operating with one hand, especially compared to pure reading devices like the Kindle. Apple is known for trying to slim down their devices in upgrades to make them lighter and easier to handle for the user.
Although there has been lots of talk about Apple testing carbonfibre bodies and thinner screens, it is not likely to be part of this iPad 2 upgrade. Instead we expect Apple to be able to scrape of a millimeter or two in terms of thickness of the iPad 2, and by reducing some of the bezel around the screen they should also be able to slim it down slightly without impacting on the screen size.
Don’t expect miracles in terms of size and weight this time around.
Screen size unchanged
Again, the rumors of different screen sizes and the iPad 2 coming in more than one size is likely coming at least a few months to early, as we predict that the screen size will remain at 9.7-inches LED backlit with 1024 x 768 resolution.
Although many have talked about Apple bringing the Retina screen of the iPhone 4 to the iPad, such an upgrade would likely not be cost efficient, and necessary, at current time. Any upgrade other than doubling the pixels in both directions will create a potential nightmare for the app developers, therefore the most likely outcome is for the screen to remain pretty much unchanged.
We expect Apple to bring the bonded/laminated screen of the iPhone 4 for reduced reflectivity and brighter colors, but that is likely it for this upgrade.
Ever since they missed out placing a front facing camera on the original iPad it has been 99% sure that facetime will come to the iPad 2 so anything else would be a big fat negative for the iPad 2.
As for a rear facing camera the panel seems to be more split. Technically we don’t see any reason for Apple not to include the same camera as on the iPhone 4, but then again do you really need a rear camera on the iPad 2? Unlike the iPhone which can be used more as a camera due to its size and being something you bring with you most places you go, the iPad although a portable device is not something most people will carry with them everywhere to use to take pictures.
We are on the fence on this one, but think Apple might just leave it out this time around.
Dual core processor and more RAM
With the Android based tablets coming hard and fast from all directions featuring dual core processors we are sure that Apple will respond by bringing their new A5 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU to the iPad 2.
We also expect the RAM to be significantly increased, perhaps to 1gb, double what we currently see in the iPhone 4 which came out last summer.
Sticking with the dual-theme, we are also expecting Apple to deliver the same dual mode GSM / CDMA chip that is found in the Verizon iPhone, and hopefully they will not restrict it based on what network the iPad 2 will be sold through.
Although Apple has brought 128GB NAND flash memory to the Macbook Air we think it is likely that Apple will stick with the current size models for the iPad 2, or even keep the 16gb version as a lowered price original iPad, and deliver the 32gb and 64gb version for the iPad 2.
Additional ports, like the new Thunderbolt PCI Express and Diplay port or an SD card slot, both have been rumored ahead of the iPad 2 launch. Apple has always been careful with what to add to their iOS devices that a customer would not use regularly. Given the Apple focus on delivering services wirelessly, such as with AirPlay, we believe that Apple will stick with their long term plan here and don’t add any of these new ports to the iPad 2.
These are our best guesses, but feel free to tell us yours by leaving a comment below.
Summary of older iPad 2 rumors
Here are a selection of older iPad rumors that we have covered over the last 12 months to give you an idea of the realistic and sometimes wild speculations that have been going on.
WSJ report Apple iPad 2 in production
The Wall Street Journal online today wrote that Apple is currently producing the iPad 2, and the news spread like wild fire among the Apple/tech community following days with rumors about the iPad 2 being presented to the world by mid-february.
WSJ are referring to people familiar with the matter when talking about how Apple has started production of the iPad 2, and they have been known to be accurate before when referring to un-named sources around Apple.
They go on to talk about the features of the iPad 2 and that it will feature a front-facing camera at least, and that it will be thinner than its 1st generation predecessor. It is also expected to be faster, and possibly running a dual core processor, something that we are starting to see reports on from Android based tablets competing with the iPad.
It is expected that the new iPad 2 will first be released in the US on AT&T and Verizon (are we possibly looking at a multi-band qualcomm chip?), but no information about any release dates or price range, other than that it is expected to cost around the same as the 1st gen iPad when it was released.
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iPad 2 to feature NFC technology
It is no secret that NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is something that will become common in gadgets in the future, allowing for new mobile payment solutions amongst many other things. And if we are able to believe the latest rumors, the coming iPad 2 might feature just that technology.
iLounge is reporting that Apple is actively developing accessories that can communicate with the built in NFC radio chips in the iPad 2 and the iPhone 5. As mentioned there are a lot of potential uses of this technology, but the one most talked about at the moment is mobile payment solutions.
iOS 4.3 beta release confirms front-facing camera
As you can see from the above image (credit: Macrumors.com) there are three new icons that are not found on the homescreen running iOS 4.2. The facetime icon clearly indicates that the iPad 2 will have a front-facing camera, while it is still uncertain whether the camera app will actually only use the front facing camera or whether there will be a camera at the back of the iPad 2 as well. People familiar with Macs will recognize the PhotoBooth app which allows users to apply different and funny filters to photos.
Retina display on iPad 2 or not?
There has been lots of rumors lately about the iPad 2 featuring Retina display, but what impact would it have and how likely is it that it could happen?
One key consideration when it comes to improving the display on the iPad is app compatibility. Increase the screen resolution on its own could have significant impact on apps, therefore it is likely that if Apple upgrades the screen resolution on the iPad 2 it will be to 2048×1536 at 264dpi. The reason for this is that doubling the capability means that apps and software will be backward compatible and can automatically be scaled up to accomodate the high-res display.
This will be a significant achievement if Apple are able to pull it off.
iPad 2 not likely until April
Although the below rumor is that the iPad 2 might arrive in February, that is more likely to be when Apple presents the iPad 2 while the more likely release date will be in April sometime in the US.
Macnotes.de have reported on reliable sources that the US launch of the iPad 2 will not be until April at the earliest, while an international launch is likely to be delayed a further 3 months, taking a possible UK release as late as July.
Our issue with these latest rumors are mostly around the likely release date internationally, as it will take the release into iPhone 5 release dates and it is not likely that Apple will allow two big product updates to be released in the same market at the same time.
Apple iPad 2 on 1st of February according to Kevin Rose
Digg founder Kevin Rose has written on his blog that he has it on good authority that Apple will announce the iPad 2, possibly on Tuesday 1st February, and that the iPad 2 will feature front/back cameras and retina display.
Videos have also floated up showing what potentially could be the 2nd generation iPad, but most people seem to agree that it looks fake. As for Kevin Rose hinting at Retina display, that was later downplayed to “higher dpi” but not technically a Retina display.
The date is about a year after Apple announced the first Apple iPad, so it could be that the source is credible, in which case we could be 2-3 weeks away from getting real details about the iPad 2.
2nd generation Apple iPad to be smaller with better sound
What is with iPad 2 rumours and anonymous Chinese sources?? Guess it makes sense that rumours would start out far east given that most components are produced in that area, including the assembly of the device itself. This latest rumour around the 2nd generation Apple iPad is along the same line as earlier ones, talking about the size of the iPad 2, and the new element being improved built in speaker for better sound.
According to the source the Apple iPad 2 will be smaller but still have the same 9.7-inch LCD screen, so no changes in visible screen size but rather trimming down on the overall packaging. The reduction in size will be achieved by trimming down the bezel as well as making the back of the iPad 2 flatter, more like the new iPod Touch 4.
The second part of the rumour referes to a wide-ranged speaker slot that will provide better sound quality from the built in speaker in the iPad 2. Improved sound is always welcomed, although not necessarily number 1 on the list of items we want from the 2nd generation Apple iPad.
Apple iPad 2 with dual cameras and high res display
Once again we hear that the 2nd generation Apple iPad will receive dual cameras (front facing facetime camera and a rear camera), and this time the source is reported to be people close to the process. Reuters are reporting that it is Wintek (chip designers), Simplo Technology (battery producer), and AVY Precision (cover maker) that are now ramping up for the first quarter of 2011, with the activity likely being focused around the Apple iPad 2G. The same article also talks about the 2nd generation Apple iPad being thinner, lighter, and with a high resolution display.
These news comes on the back of other reports that the Apple iPad 2G will be ready for the market within the next 100 days, which is largely in line with the usual Apple yearly upgrade (original iPad launched around April time 2010).
Apple iPad 2 to be a multi-band ‘World iPad’
According to AppleInsider, analyst Brian Blair from Wedge Partners in a note to investors advised that Apple is working on developing a new iPad that will feature a Qualcomm multimode CDMA-GSM chipset, making the 2nd generation iPad a ‘World iPad’.
There has been talk for a while about future Apple mobile devices featuring a multi-band Qualcomm chip, which among other things would allow the devices to support Verizon customers in the US. But the world is much bigger than the US only for a company like Apple, and a multi-band chipset would also ensure that the Apple iPad 2 could be used more places around the world.
Verizon have started selling the current Apple iPad in the US despite it not being supported on their mobile network. Due to the compatibility issue they are currently only selling the Wi-Fi model combined with a MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot for connectivity where there are no other Wi-Fi connections available.
The same analyst also indicated that the new iPad 2 will be thinner than the current model thanks to utilizing the same unibody design and production process as for the Macbooks.
Dual cameras sourced for Apple iPad 2
A research note from Detweiler Fenton (via Macrumors) claims that Omnivision Technologies has won the contract to supply the image sensors for both a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera and a front-facing facetime compatible camera for the Apple iPad 2.
The report also goes on to claim that the Apple iPad 2 will be released in Q1 of 2011, but relatively late in the quarter, making it almost the year since the release of the original Apple iPad.
128gb memory and Retina display
Today Wall Street analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities revealed their expectations that the 2nd generation iPad will feature the same Retina display technology found in the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4 (source: Appleinsider).
His sources comes from suppliers in Taipei, and that the 1st quarter of 2011 will see the new Retina display iPad that is also expected to receive a doubling of memory to 128gb.
The latest rumours are also supporting some of the older expectations around the 2nd generation Apple iPad, including that we will see a smaller 7-inch display iPad model.
Double pin connector and smartbezel
An Apple patent reveals that Apple might be looking at adding some additional features to the next generation iPad, including an extra pin connector to allow for portrait mode docking, and a feature referred to as “smartbezel” which is expected to be a user recognition tool.
Facetime for 2nd generation Apple iPad
With Apple releasing their new Facetime camera and technology for both the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4 it is difficult to imagine Apple bringing a new 2nd generation Apple iPad to the market without this new technology.
The lack of a video conference camera solution was one of the biggest disappointments when Apple launched the origininal iPad back in April this year.
Apple testing iPad 2.0 with ARM Cortex A9 processor
It is rumoured that Apple is already testing their 2nd generation iPad featuring a new ARM Cortex A9 processor. This new processor would amongst other things make the next generation iPad faster and improve its battery life.
Additional feaures include an electronic gyroscope and a magnetic compass.
While we wait for the 2nd generation iPad, check out our best price Apple iPad price comparison to grap a bargain for this Christmas season.