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

iPad 2 Rumors

Rumor has it that suppliers, model specifics, and new materials have already been chosen for the iPad 2. 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 Metro.co.uk 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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