For the last two years, Apple has released its iPad in the first few months of the new year. But could that change this year?
Two sources, This Is My Next and Boy Genius Report, suggest that the new iPad could be coming this fall. An unnamed source told This Is My Next that the new iPad's major improvement would be a higher resolution screen. While the iPad 2 sports a 1024 x 768 resolution, the rumored "iPad HD" would double that to 2048 x 1536, making it HD-ready. Boy Genius Report, meanwhile, added fuel to the iPad rumor fire, citing a note to investors written by FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger. The note claimed that Apple had reached out to parts manufacturers in China and that the "iPad2 Plus," as Berger called it, would be available later in the year. The new iPad would not be the iPad 3, Berger warned, but rather a higher-end model of the current iPad 2.
Both This Is My Next and Boy Genius Report agree that the target audience for the new iPad is power users, especially those in film production and photography. The iPad HD (or iPad 2 Plus, or whatever) will be compatible with a professional quality application resembling Final Cut Pro (film editing) or Aperture (photo editing). Is this going to stop Mac-heads from scooping up the new HD-ready iPads like madmen and madwomen? Probably not. The improved screen resolution would be reason enough for many iPad movie-watchers and business travelers to make the switch alone, while the mere rumor of a new iPad should have the true-believer devotees fishing their Apple-store camping tents out of the garage.
Apple has yet to respond to the rumors with an official announcement about a new iPad, though one is expected some time this fall, perhaps during Steve Jobs' September 1 Apple keynote speech.
UPDATE: Adding credence to the rumor, DigiTimes reports that Apple is set to add a second Taiwanese parts manufacturer for its iPad HDs, which are supposedly coming some time between September and December of this year.