updated 10:00 pm EST, Thu November 18, 2010
Next iPad to scale in February
A new leak has hinted that full production of the second-generation iPad may ramp up in February. Three circuit board producers, Ibiden, Tripod Technology and TTM Technologies, are due to ship the first batch of components in December, but four more should come onboard to accelerate manufacturing in February. The Digitimes tips had the formal launch due sometime in the first quarter of the year.
The terms line up with similar display timing and support beliefs that the next iPad will launch earlier than its predecessor. Apple originally unveiled the iPad in late January 2010, but it didn't ship the tablet until April as tight supply of the 9.7-inch display prevented it from delivering on time. Production eventually brought Samsung onboard to cope with the expected initial demand.
Although no direct evidence has surfaced, supplier leaks and software have locked in much of the probable feature set. Apple is likely to have front and back cameras similar to those in the iPhone 4 and will probably jump to a faster, dual-core processor using ARM's new Cortex-A9 architecture and with more RAM. The launch is rumored to be important enough that Apple hired a fashion videographer to shoot ads months in advance, again supporting the notion of a release sooner than April.
Suppliers have typically been the weak link in Apple's releases, since many contractors are likely to have those less secretive than Apple itself.