Eight months have passed since Apple's iPad debuted in April so a new model should be expected around April of next year the latest, if the company's annual hardware cycle is any indication. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that plugged in source are on the move, reporting a similar set of intricate details that had preceded the original iPad launch.
A Friday story by Reuters has followed up on Taiwanese trade publication Digitimes' story earlier this week which pegged iPad 2 for the end of February in 2011. An RBS analyst stationed in Taipei, Steven Tseng, told the news gathering organization that the device would go on sale in April 2011, a year following the original iPad launch:
It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February. I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April
Multiple sources went on to confirm to Reuters the existence of both front- and back-facing cameras on the gizmo, fueling speculation that the next iPad will be FaceTime-capable, with both Genius Electronic Optical and Largan Precision allegedly providing camera modules. Purported iPad 2 cases (here, here, and here) shown below also suggest two cameras on iPad 2, in addition to a slimmer appearance and what looks to be an SD card slot.
Currently, Apple is requiring users to purchase the $30 iPod Camera Connection Kit in order to transfer images from a digital camera to the device.
Other component suppliers named in Reuters' report include touchscreen chip designer Wintek, as well as battery maker Simplo Technology and AVY Precision Technology, echoing an earlier report from Digitimes. It would seem that iPad 2 might follow the same production pattern as the original model, with component suppliers tasked with providing necessary parts from January so Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn could kickstart mass production in February.