Apple sticks to a pretty regular schedule when it comes to new iPhone and iPod releases - every year in June for the first and September for the latter. So it doesn't come as a surprise that the company is planning to launch an updated version of the iPad sometime in 2011. According to the latest rumors, that update will come in April and will bring built-in cameras, a slimmer profile, and a Qualcomm chip that makes it possible to run the 3G version of the tablet on CDMA and GSM networks.
Such a move would mean the device could run on the cellular networks of all major U.S. wireless carriers, including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as on the networks of carriers in Europe and Asia. Naturally, Apple doesn't comment on future products, but Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair's sources claim the company is preparing to build approximately 48 million iPads in calendar 2011. It will be made out of a single piece of metal, adopting a manufacturing process similar to the one it uses for its unibody MacBooks.
If accurate, this would tie in well with recent information from Digitimes that Apple has already named three suppliers for iPad printed circuit boards -- TTM, Tripod and Ibiden -- and will start shipping any layer HDI boards for the iPad 2 in small quantities in December.