An "Apple iPad 2" will hit store shelves as soon as the spring of 2011 – and this rejiggered iPad could ship with two digital cameras, allowing users access to the same FaceTime technology available on the Apple iPhone 4. That's the gossip being floated this week by Brian Marshall, an analyst with the firm Gleacher and Company, who sources his report in part to hardware manufacturers in Asia.
"I think April is the proper time-frame for an iPad 2," Marshall told Computerworld. "Since I'm projecting that Apple will release a CDMA iPhone in March, both will help to equalize Apple's seasonality." Marshall says that the iPad 2 won't get a sweeping redesign, but it will certainly get front- and rear-facing cameras. "It will be the same form factor, but with dual-camera functionality," he said.
Obviously Apple has plenty of incentive to update its iPad line. Since the unveiling of the original iPad, way back in January – man, does time ever move fast in the tech world – scores of companies have revealed specs on their own tablet devices. Among them: the Android-powered Galaxy Tab; the bargain-basement-priced tablet from Sylvania; and the BlackBerry PlayBook, which should a hit sometime in early 2011.
The phrase "tablet computer" is everywhere these days, and although Apple is not exactly hurting in the sales department – the company has sold about 7.5 million iPad units to date – the competition is starting to get pretty fierce. By building up anticipation around an iPad 2, Apple can turn the spotlight back to the flatscreen device that started the tablet computer revolution.