A rumor out of Digitimes suggests that the Apple iPad will receive a modest upgrade in 2011. According to Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, the next generation Apple tablet will include a Cortex-A9 processor and 512MB of RAM. These improvements will boost the speed and double the available RAM of the current iPad model. The remaining features of the model including its 10-inch IPS display and form factor are presumably expected to remain the same.
In his research note, Kuo also commented on the rumored iPad mini, a 7-inch tablet device being developed by Apple. The 7-inch iOS device will reportedly feature a Cortex-A9 processor and an IPS display with a resolution of 1024×768. The production of a smaller tablet device makes sense for Apple. The Cupertino company navigated the rocky waters of the tablet market with the iPad and showed that a simple, well-designed tablet can be a hit. With a bit of success under its belt, Apple can now push the boundaries and produce a tablet device that features the same core features of the iPad but in a smaller, more portable form factor.
The one feature not mentioned in any of these rumors thus far is the inclusion of a front-facing camera. Apple introduced its new FaceTime communication tool on the iPhone 4 and featured it during Steve Job’s WWDC 2010 keynote presentation. The tool allows owners of FaceTime-enabled devices to video chat over WiFi. Though FaceTime is rumored to operate via email as an alternative, the tool is designed to use a front-facing camera as a video source.
One would think that the email option was included to support legacy devices and that all new hardware from this time forward would feature a FaceTime-enabled camera. With the one-year anniversary of the iPad coming up in January 2011, we most likely have six more months of rumor mongering before we can get some concrete details on these next generation devices. Unless, of course Apple has a few surprises in store for its rumored iPod event, a media event that traditionally has been held in the fall.