There is no doubt that Apple is unveiling its next-generation iPad next week. And the invitation sent to press for the March 2 event strongly suggests it will be called the iPad 2 — either that, or Apple is just really fond of rip-off type calendars.
So what can we expect from the iPad 2? If rumors and leaks are any indication, the new iPad might just be a modest update.
High Res and SD Out
For months, rumors swirled of extremely high-resolution displays, SD cards slots, and front-facing cameras. And while two of those features, the camera and SD slot, are short of exciting — many Android tablets have front-facing cameras and SD card slots — the resolution spec bandied about of 2048 × 1536 (double the current iPad’s 1024 × 768) would give the iPad 2 the highest pixel density of any tablet on the market.
However, reports are now indicating that Apple has scrapped at least two of the major upgrades: the display resolution bump and SD card slot, leaving the iPad 2 with only marginal improvements over the original.
Citing sources that have been “dead right on specific Apple plans” in the past, Engadget claims Apple made the last minute changes due to “engineering issues.”
So that leaves Apple with only a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat, which many thought was a guarantee once the service arrived for the iPhone 4 and fourth-gen iPod touch, and quite possibly a rear camera as revealed by pics of early iPad 2 cases – again, both already found on the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Xoom. In addition, the new iPad will be thinner and lighter, and will sport rounded edges.
Engadget is also reporting the new iPad will have more RAM (512MB, up from 256MB) and a more powerful processor (A5, up from the 1GHz A4).
Of course, more features could come in the form of a new version of iOS, perhaps iOS 5. The last major update in November from iOS 3.2 to iOS 4.2 brought multitasking, app folders, as well as AirPrint and AirPlay, which we found a bit underwhelming in our iOS 4.2 review. Rumors regarding iOS 5 are scarce, though wireless synching is tops on many iOS 5 wish lists and cloud storage features though Apple’s MobileMe are a possibility.