Apple, Inc., which revolutionized the tablet market with its launch of iPad in April 2010, will be reportedly launching its new iPad 2 at an event in San Francisco, California on March 2 with a launch date on early April.
Since the release of the original iPad, Apple has sold 14.8 million tablets. RBC Capital Markets expects Apple to sell 30 million iPad 2 units between April 2011 and March 2012.
“The timing of the March 2 event would put the iPad on an annual cycle of updates similar to those of the iPhone and iPod media player, and keep Apple ahead of competitors,” Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland told Bloomberg.
“The tablet becomes the next growth starter for the next two years for Apple. The company is releasing a second edition while many competitors are introducing their first tablets,” Sutherland said.
The new iPad will initially be available through Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. but not Sprint Nextel Corp. or T-Mobile USA in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.
Stock analysis firm Trefis said that the original iPad lacks some of the “must have” features such as no camera, no OLED display, no removable battery, no multi-tasking feature, no Adobe Flash, no Skype and storage capacity limited to a maximum of 64 GB flash drive. The absence of these features could limit demand for the iPad.
If Apple adds these “must have” features in the iPad 2, it would be an added advantage to the already strong demand for iPad, leading to higher sales that may exceed its predecessor’s.
Barclays analyst Kirk Yang expects the upcoming iPad to have 2 cameras (front/back, likely 5/2 megapixel resolutions), same size (9.7-inch), same A4 processor, 512MB DRAM (iPad: 256MB DRAM), lighter than iPad of 680 grams, higher storage capacity up to 128GB (iPad: 64GB), and without USB/HDMI ports.
In addition, Apple is said to boost the resolution of iPad 2 to 2048 by 1536, Digitimes reported citing sources from upstream component makers.
The current iPad has a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels at 132 pixels per inch (ppi), while iPad’s closest competitor Samsung Galaxy Tab has a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels at 169 ppi.
RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky discusses expected hardware specifications for the iPad 2 in his note, which include a faster 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a rear camera, a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat and a thinner, lighter case.
Apple iPad 2 will be shipped immediately and its initial shipments are expected to be in the range of 400,000 to 600,000 units, according to Digitimes.
Cupertino, California-based Apple first announced iPad on Jan. 27, 2010 in San Francisco with pre-orders started on March 12. Actual sales started on April 3 with 300,000 units sold on the first day. One month later, the sales reached 1 million units by May 3, and 2 million units by May 31, 2010.
For the latest first quarter ended Dec.25, 2010, Apple sold 7.33 million iPads and generated sales of $4.61 billion. As a result, iPad accounted for 17 percent of Apple’s total sales of $26.74 billion.