Apple Readies iPad 2, Report Says

The iPad might be the hot tech gift this holiday season, but prospective iPad buyers may want to wait for January as rumblings about a new iPad are starting to surface.

Apple has sold 7.46 million iPads as of late September, and the company appears to be counting on a big holiday season for its popular tablet device. The iPad is already available through Apple as well as major retail partners such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. We've also heard that discount department retailer TJ Maxx is carrying limited supplies of the iPad for the holiday season. So deals might be found if Apple wants to reduce inventory in anticipation of iPad 2.0.

We'll probably start hearing more about the next iPad from December to early January, but here's a look at what is being said now about the next-generation iPad.

FaceTime

It's pretty clear that the next iPad should have FaceTime, Apple's mobile video chat standard. FaceTime debuted with the iPhone 4, then it moved to the iPod Touch

facetime icon
in September so the next logical move would be to put FaceTime on the iPad.

As early as February, reports surfaced that the current iPad's internal frame had a space for a camera. Then in September, an anonymous source with "knowledge of Apple's future product plans" told Apple Insider the iPad-maker was actively testing a version of FaceTime for the iPad.

The Camera Debate

If the next-generation iPad came with FaceTime, then the device would clearly need a front-facing camera. But it's being debated whether the iPad will come stacked with a rear-facing camera as well. Analysts at investment firm Detwiler Fenton said in late October that, based on research within Apple's supply chain, the next iPad will have a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, according to Barron's.

But does an iPad rear-facing camera make sense for the device? Samsung's recently launched 7-inch Galaxy Tab has a 3.2-megapixel camera; however, many reviews of the device said using the tablet computer as a digital camera was a little awkward. If snapping pictures with a 7-inch screen is awkward, imagine using a nearly 10-inch device to do the same thing.

Mini USB?

Goldman Sachs analysts in September floated the idea that the next iPad 2, aside from being thinner and lighter, would sport a mini USB port, according to Bloomberg. The mini USB would replace the 30-pin dock connector used in the current version of the iPad.

Apple is reportedly getting component manufacturers ready for the iPad 2 and will start ramping up production of the device in February, according to Taiwan-based Digitimes. Although most critics and analysts expect to see a revamped iPad in January, one year after the original iPad launched, very few rumors about the device have surfaced so far.

Apple has sold 7.46 million iPads as of late September, and the company appears to be counting on a big holiday season for its popular tablet device. The iPad is already available through Apple as well as major retail partners such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. We've also heard that discount department retailer TJ Maxx is carrying limited supplies of the iPad for the holiday season.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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