Citing sources in the accessory business, MacNotes is reporting that Apple is planning to hold a special event next week where the company will not only showcase many of the new features in the upcoming iOS 4.3 update, but will also introduce the iPad 2.
Aside from the inclusion of rear and front facing cameras, rumors of what features the iPad 2 will offer have been hard to pin down – and that’s just the way Apple likes it. From an iPad 2 with a Retina Display to the inclusion of an SD Card slot, a number of rumored iPad 2 features have summarily been dismissed in recent weeks.
What we can bank on, however, is a new and slightly thinner form factor, thanks in large part to a thinner display rumored to be 30-35% thinner than the original. MacNotes also chimes in with a report that the forthcoming iPad will be based on Apple’s brand new A5 processor and that the device will come equipped with a Mini DisplayPort. Earlier this week, Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that the iPad 2 will sport an ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor running at 1.2 GHZ, an Imagination SGX543 dual core GPU, and 512 MB of RAM, twice as much as the original.
Another reason to expect an iPad announcement soon is that Apple has a strong history of sticking to annual release cycles. Every iPhone has been released during the Summer months while all iPod refreshes in recent memory have been announced during September. The iPad last year hit store shelves on April 3 and rumor has it that the iPad 2 will drop on the first or second Saturday of April, meaning either April 2 or April 9.
And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s already February. With April not too far off, an announcement touting the impending release of the iPad 2 has to be close, making an announcement next week extremely plausible.
Further, the release of iOS 4.3 appears to be around the corner as well as a third beta of the OS update was released this past Tuesday. Moreover, one of the features included in the brand new The Daily is the ability to sign up for a subscription from within the app. When asked during a Q&A when similar functionality will be available to other publications, Apple’s iTunes guru Eddy Cue wasn’t forthcoming, noting that Apple would provide more details in the near future and that other magazines/newspapers will be able to implement the feature soon.
It’s also worth pointing out that David Pogue’s review of the Verizon iPhone 4 included a blurb about February 13th being a possible release date for iOS 4.3, an update which will offer GSM iPhone owners the ability to turn their device into a personal hotspot. And seeing as how the Verizon iPhone will ship with such functionality when released on February 10, it makes sense that Apple wouldn’t wait too long before offering existing iPhone customers the same ability. With in-app subscriptions now up and running along with personal hotspot functionality hitting Verizion iPhones on February 10, an iOS release around that time makes perfect sense.
February 13th, though, is a Sunday, and while Apple would release an iOS update over the weekend, it’s hard, if not impossible, to fathom Apple introducing it’s next-gen iPad on a Sunday. That said, the proximity to last year’s April 3 iPad launch coupled with the inevitable release of iOS 4.3 all point to an iPad 2 announcement right around the bend. MacNotes anticipates an announcement next week while we’d expect it to happen no later than February 18th.