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Rumor Has It: iPad 2 Suppliers Chosen, New Case Possible

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Rumor has it that suppliers, model specifics, and new materials have already been chosen for the iPad 2 (s aapl). A new patent has also come to light that introduces some interesting possibilities about what materials might be used in future iPad casing designs.

Taiwanese tech industry publication DigiTimes has identified Ibiden, Tripod Technology, and TTM Technologies as part suppliers for the next iPad. DigiTimes goes on to report that four additional suppliers are to be added in February 2011, when iPad shipments will increase for a speculated April release. All three of the identified companies are circuit board manufacturers. As points out, this report parallels earlier rumors that iPad touchscreen component manufacturers are also working toward an early 2011 release.

In terms of design, Wedge Partner’s Brian Blair (via Digital Daily) claims Apple is developing a “World iPad” based on Qualcomm’s multimode CDMA-GSM chips, news sure to please Verizon users. Blair suggest Apple is planning to build approximately 48 million iPads in 2011. He describes the new iPad as “thinner than the existing model and […] essentially made from one piece of metal with no pins needed […] it requires a new type of manufacturing process as a result.”

IBTimes reports additional clues about design changes could come from an Apple patent for a technology using carbon fiber material that’s lighter than the current aluminum used in Apple notebooks and the iPad. The patent, labeled “Reinforced Device Housing,” describes “a skin formed from the first material separately from the frame and bonded to the frame; wherein the skin is formed from multiple layers of the first material; and a portion of the skin covers at least a wall of the frame.”

The “first material” is a type similar to carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) that, while lighter, tends to break or crack on corners, which Apple plans to remedy by complex layering techniques. So, if you agree with many that think that the iPad’s 1.5 pound frame feels a little bulky, this could be a move in a lighter direction. Unfortunately, this probably isn’t as reliable as the supplier information, given how many patents Apple files annually.

Other iPad rumors from around the tech world include the addition of front and back-facing cameras for use with FaceTime, three-axis gyroscope for games, a Cortex-A9 chip CPU, a mini-USB port, and more memory. Some sites are also predicting a 7-inch model to bridge the gap between the iPhone/iPod touch and the current large iPad screen, though Steve Jobs recently went on the record against that idea. Check out our two posts on the subject for more.

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13 Responses to “Rumor Has It: iPad 2 Suppliers Chosen, New Case Possible”

  1. jane o'connor

    Is the iPad2 coming out the end of the year or April? I would like to give it to my son for Christmas. Could I purchase a gift certificate for the iPad2 and he could get it when it does come out? thank you

  2. While every upgrade people expect apple to invent the wheel, usually what happens is that they add a minor change, and the Ipad 2 isn’t different.
    I think it will have the same exact design.
    1) front camera
    2) more memory
    3) gyro
    4) maybe less wight.
    no new touch.
    no usb connector ( that will ruin apple way of doing things.)

    This is the the new ipad, nothing more then that.

  3. The big reason Im putting off the first ipad – weight, that thing is as heavy as my laptop.

    2nd,design,its a little old looking, kind of like the first iphone.

    3rd, dont like the feel of metal so much

    All these problems could be taken care of if they got rid of that aluminum chassie

  4. I suspect it’ll be bought by the same people who bought the last one and not many others.

    Let’s face it, if the iPad is on sale in Sam’s Club I think we can put the short supply bullshit to bed now.

    • So Mark, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and predict how many iPads Apple will sell in 2011? Should be simple for you, since you apparently know who the buyers will be.

      To say that the iPad is and will continue to be an unprecedented hit is an understatement. I’ll give the naysayers a hint: count the number of countries Apple sells the iPad in vs. how many the iPhone is sold in — I believe the current count is less than half for the iPad — that gives you some idea on the upside potential.

    • “short supply bullsh!t”

      Not exactly sure what you mean, but I’m assuming you think that sales have dried up because it is now readily available at retailers?

      I suppose you also based your findings on the fact that originally the iPad was only being produced at a million units per month. In August, they upped it to 1.5 million units, then 2 million units, and is currently being produced at rate of 3 million units a month.

      They are available in a lot of places at the moment, because Apple was smart enough to ramp up production for the holiday season.

  5. The surprise is that we’ll have to wait until April to get it.

    The front-facing camera was the biggest omission from the first iPad, and was omitted because the software wasn’t ready. I thought that Apple may release an early update to remedy this, but now it seems they’ll wait for April for a total redesign of the iPad.