Wednesday 2nd March is written in Stuff’s diary in permanent marker. Fluorescent yellow permanent marker. Why? Because Apple is holding an event that day, and we’d bet our house and yours that it’s going to see the unveiling of the iPad 2. So what can we expect from the second gen iPad? We'll be live blogging from the even, but for now here are the likely features and tweaks...
A sharper screen
Apple seems nailed-on to stick with a 9.6-inch screen for iPad 2, but our money’s on a higher resolution. We don’t think it’ll quite stretch to the same pixel density as the iPhone 4’s Retina Display – the processing power needed would be huge – but we’re sure to see greater detail on offer – hopefully enough to run 720p videos at their full 1280 x 720 resolution.
A camera or two
The addition of a front camera offering FaceTime is a dead cert in our books. With pretty much every Android tablet supporting video chat, Apple would be nuts not to. We might also see a higher resolution rear-mounted camera for regular video and photo capture.
iPad 1 packs an accelerometer and GPS, and the addition of a gyroscope would make iPad 2 more aware of its position and orientation and thus even better for gaming. The iPhone 4 has one, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPad 2 go six-axis sensitive.
A skinnier body
Apple is a master of slimming down its gadgets over the generations, and while the first iPad is far from a chubster it could certainly lose a millimetre or two off its thickness. The weight should also drop.
A few months back all we were hearing with regards to the iPad 2 was “carbon fibre, carbon fibre, carbon fibre”. So it’s possible that Apple has decided to construct the iPad 2 body from the tough-yet-lightweight material used in Formula 1 cars. It’s pricey, though, so we’re not sure Apple would take this step just yet.
Strong rumours persist concerning the iPad 2’s built-in speaker. Or possibly speakers. According to the whispers, there may be stereo speakers this time, and they’ll be more powerful. The tinny mono speaker is one of the current model’s low points, so let’s hope this one plays out.
An SD card slot
We’d love some way to upgrade the iPad’s storage, but currently there isn’t one – short of buying a new iPad with a bigger flash drive. Adding an SD card slot would sort out this issue and make it easier to transfer files to and from the iPad 2 to boot.
A white version
Given the trouble Apple has had bringing the white iPhone 4 to market, you might think the company would want to stick to a plain old black iPad 2. But a rumour currently doing the rounds claims that a paler version will be offered, and that there’ll be no production issues because the iPad 2 won’t have a rear camera with a flash (reportedly the gremlin affecting white iPhone 4s).