As rumors around the iPad 2 grow ever more elaborate, separate reports are surfacing that a field test is already scheduled and that Apple will release ARM processor-based 9.7- and 7-inch editions early next year.
Digitimes sparked a new round of rumors last week with a report that both the 9.7-inch iPad 2 and its smaller counterpart will use ARM’s forthcoming Cortex A9 processor.
In a second iPad 2 report from Taiwan, the Economic Daily News newspaper has also said that companies are beginning to put together a 7-inch iPad for Apple, naming Cando Corporation, Chimei Innolux, and Compal Electronics as suppliers.
Digitimes reported last week that Apple’s upgraded 9.7-inch tablet is slated for release in Q1 of 2011, and it will be outfitted with 512MB of RAM. The 7-inch edition will sport a 1,024-by-768 IPS (Insulated Panel Systems) panel, according to Digitimes, which bases its reports on information received from Asian component suppliers.
The article in the Economic Daily News goes further to state that Compal will assemble the iPad mini, Innolux will supply 7-inch LCD screens, and Cando will provide the touchscreen technology. Also according to the newspaper’s account, the IPS technology to be found in the mini appeared in the original iPad as well, and it’s designed to enhance color and viewing angles on LCD screens.
Boy Genius Report has also added more fuel to the iPad 2 rumors with a report this week that software code contained in iOS 4 indicates both a next generation iPad and a Verizon Wireless iPhone are already in line for field testing.
According to a source at Apple unidentified by BGR, this block of code auto-activates a device, allowing wireless carriers or partners to field test the gadget without needing to undergo the process of activating it through iTunes. The code always shows up in Apple’s mobile OS before the release of a major Apple gadget, and it’s always removed just prior to launch time.
As purported evidence, BGR included lines of code in its report, supposedly taken from the iOS4 source code, which refers to “iPhone3.2,” “iPhone3.3,” and “iProd2.1.” As some others have pointed out, a device called “iProd” did appear in beta builds of iOS 3.1, and it ultimately turned out to be the first generation iPad.
Earlier Rumors of iPad Mini started Circulated in April
Rumors of an iPad mini have been circulating since April, when Digitimes first raised the specter of a 5- to 7-inch model. At the time, Digitimes had no word on either the screen resolution or the internal storage capacity of the smaller model, but predicted that it might be released as early as Q1 of next year.
In a later report, issued in July, Digitimes contended that Apple will launch not just one but two new display sizes — 5.6- and 7-inches — in its second generation of iPads, and that the current LCD will be swapped out for an OLED screen in the new models.
Digitimes derived this report from orders supposedly placed with component makers for screens in those sizes. Yet the perpetual rumor starter also noted at the time that leading OLED developers such as Samsung and LG Display were already having trouble keeping up with OLED demands for devices such as the Samsung Wave, and that OLED-based iPads would further strain supplies.
A few weeks later, the Apple-centric news site iLounge took matters several steps further with a report that Apple had “substantially finished a 7-inch iPad,” attributing this information to an unidentified source with a “very high” accuracy level. Also according to iLounge, Apple will announce the 7-incher either at the end of this year or the start of next year.
True or False?
Aside from leaving out the purported 5.6-inch device, Digitimes’ most recent report differs from the account given in July by adding details about the screen and processor that will supposedly show up in the iPad mini.
If Apple does plan to use the ARM Cortex A9, product release in Q1 of next year would be just about right. Shipment of Cortex A9-based SOCs from Texas Instruments are anticipated later this year for devices slated to appear early in 2011.
Of course, rumors about Apple products haven’t always turned out to be accurate. As Apple Insider pointed out this week, for instance, BGR last year incorrectly indicated that iTunes would add Blu-ray support, and that Apple would create a social media consolidation application.
However, the Economic Daily News is regarded as a particular reliable news organization. The Chinese newspaper was one of the first to correctly predict that Apple would produce a tablet, when rumors elsewhere pointed in the direction of a netbook.
Apple Rivals are Announcing Mini Tablets
Meanwhile, it is definitely known is that Apple is now starting to face competitive pressures from other vendors throwing their hats into the tablet ring, particularly in the realm of smaller devices. To give one example, Dell last week announced shipment on August 13 of its 5-inch Android OS-based Streak tablet.
Also last week, Asus officially announced two Windows-enabled tablets – measuring 12.1- and 10-inches – along with an 8-inch Android OS device dubbed the Asus Eee Tablet.