Apple iPad 2 will ship by February: report

An Apple iPad 2 could hit the market in early 2011, according to several sources inside the tech industry.

iPad 2 in February? Does Santa offer two-month IOUs? At left, customers in Korea try out the original Apple iPad.

The iPad 2 is probably just a few months away. Now before people starting hopping up and down and accusing us of getting ahead of ourselves, we'll offer the usual caveats: Most of the "evidence" of an Apple iPad 2 is anecdotal and speculative, and yes, it could all turn out to be spectacularly false. At the same time, a flood of unsubstantiated reports from all over the place also presaged the launch of the original iPad. Plus, the timing pretty much lines up perfectly.

Here's the dirt thus far: In late November, the Economic News Daily, an English-language Taiwanese paper with sources inside the tech industry, reported that Apple was prepping a sucessor to the original iPad. According to the News Daily, this "iPad 2" would include FaceTime functionality, fresh display tech, a pair of cameras – one on each side – and a USB port.

That report meshed with a prediction from the Gleacher and Company analyst Brian Marshall, who spoke with several parts manufacturers in Taiwan. "I think April is the proper time-frame for an iPad 2," Marshall recently told Computerworld. "Since I'm projecting that Apple will release a CDMA iPhone in March, both will help to equalize Apple's seasonality." In other words, early 2011 is a good time to refresh the Apple iPad, which launched earlier this year.

Now comes an iPad 2 item in DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based newspaper that covers the tech industry. DigiTimes reported yesterday that a range of component makers have confirmed that an iPad 2 – iPad 2, incidentally, is probably not going to be the real name for the device – will ship in February and hit store shelves in April. The first shipment of next-gen iPads will total 400,000 to 600,000 units. (Via Forbes.)

So, there's your evidence. Over to you. Are you sold? Is an iPad 2 on the way? Hit up the comments section below.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

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