Apple could release two new iPad models in less than a month. The new devices are rumored to make their debut at iWorld (formerly Macworld Expo) which is scheduled for January 26, 2012. The timing is particularly interesting as Apple hasn’t attended this event since 2009.
Citing sources at supply chain partners, DigiTimes reports that the two new models will join the existing iPad 2 to target entry-level, mid-range and high-end market segments. The current iPad 2 is said to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, meaning it would represent the low-end market. This is a bit hard to believe as Apple would have to lower the price of their tablet by a significant amount. Amazon has priced the Kindle Fire at $199 while the iPad starts at $499.
Both new models will feature a 9.7-inch screen but will include a resolution upgrade to 2,048 x 1,536. Dual LED light bars are being used to supply enough brightness to the new screens. Sharp will handle the majority of display orders but Samsung and LG Display will also supply some parts.
A Samsung-manufactured quad-core A6 processor will power the next generation iPads, according to the sources. Samsung has also been tapped to supply the CMOS image sensor for one of the new tablets with a 5MP camera. Sony will manufacture the other sensor with an 8MP lens.
Two manufacturers, Simplo Technology and Dynapack Internation Technology are supplying batteries with a capacity up to 14,000mAh. This is more than double the capacity of the current iPad 2.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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