As rumors persist about a CDMA-ready iPhone being released in the near feature, so begins increased speculation that Apple is also readying a second generation iPad that will be compatible with the 3G network favored by Verizon. DigiTimes is reporting that the iPad 2 will be available in three versions: a Wi-Fi only model, a UMTS model, and a new CDMA version. (Of course, it’s certain that the UMTS and CDMA models will both have Wi-Fi connectivity as well.)
The first and current iPad model only supports wireless connectivity through Wi-Fi and the 3G UMTS network that’s used by AT&T. Both Verizon and Sprint rely on a CDMA network to provide customers with wireless connectivity. Verizon currently sells the iPad bundled with an external MiFi hotspot that allows devices to connect to Verizon’s 3G network indirectly through a Wi-Fi signal.
According to the report, about 60 to 65 percent of shipped iPads are 3G models, indicating a consumer preference for more broadly available wireless connectivity.
The DigiTimes report also suggests that Apple is making efforts to make the iPad 2’s screen last prone to glare and smudging — both criticisms of the current iPad model — to appeal to heavy readers who may be tempted by Amazon’s Kindle.
If the rumors are true, production should ramp up by late January and the iPad 2 should be released sometime thereafter in early 2011. Earlier this week, DigiTimes reported that Apple’s Chinese manufacturers have been instructed to produce a CDMA compatible version of the iPhone also be released sometime in 2011.