The second-generation Apple iPad 2 tablet could be released as early as February 2011, according to news reports from Taiwan, as OEMs prepare for anticipated large orders.
The iPad 2 was rumored for release in January, but it appears Apple is still verifying the tablet’s firmware. As expected, Foxconn should be the main manufacturer responsible for providing parts, as Apple looks to manufacture up to 600,000 units as a launch shipment.
Until Apple CEO Steve Jobs steps in front of a live audience to unveil the new iPad 2, don’t expect to hear anything but rumors. So far, the iPad 2 is rumored to include a front-facing camera, mini-USB port, gyroscope features, and additional RAM, which were all common complaints from generation 1 iPad owners.
Apple has sold 4.19 million iPad units during its fiscal Q4 (2010), a lower number than expected, but has still helped kickstart the tablet market. However, the iPad still controls 95.5% of the tablet market, according to Strategy Analytics, though even more competitors are now emerging.
The iPad 2 will have the benefit of resolving some of the iPad’s flaws, along with knowledgeable consumers with deeper pockets.
Analysts expect the current iPad to lead the e-reader market through Christmas, despite the Amazon’s stronghold on the market. After the release of the iPad 2, Apple will immediately shift focus towards marketing the new gadget — and will draw even more attention to the trendy device.
It’s good to see Apple constantly try to stay at the front of the market, because Google Android-powered tablets are gaining more attention. I look forward to watching Apple try to defend its tablet control as even more competitors look to crowd into the emerging market.