Maybe this is why those insanely low iPad prices keep popping up for holiday shoppers – it’s time to make room for the next round. All Things Digital reports that analyst Brian Blair says Apple is busy developing the iPad 2, which could be on shelves early next year. According to AppleInsider, production on the current iPad will end in January to make way for the new model.
As can be expected, the new iPad will feature FaceTime and come equipped with a camera on each side, all in a slimmed down package. But these additions pale in comparison to the real upgrade: a GSM-CDMA radio chip. There’s reason to believe that the tablet will implement this device, enabling it to run on various networks – i.e., Verizon customers could use the iPad without carrying around the $30-a-month MiFi device. In fact, AT&T (obviously), Verizon, and Sprint customers would all be able to provide connectivity for the iPad 2 (word is still out on T-Mobile, since it uses a different frequency band for 3G than AT&T). Apple is apparently labeling this capability as making the new iPad a “world mode” device.
Blair claims that “Apple is preparing to build approximately 48 million iPads in calendar 2011.” And making the second-generation iPad globally available is a wise choice if Apple wants to onto hold its edge over tablet competition.