ipad_thumb.png

It's all go at Apple (news, site) as the company prepares to unveil its answer to everyone else's tablet efforts.

Orders From Chaos

Apple has had its hands full in the last few weeks with rumors of product delays (iPad 2, since denied), more product delays (iPhone 5 this time, also since denied), and endless guesses at launch dates (one now confirmed) and the unseemly tabloid scrum surrounding the health of CEO Steve Jobs.

For the record, the iPad 2 will be unveiled next week on 10:00 AM PT, March 2, at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. So, if you've been fed up with all the tablet hype for the last year, get ready for it all over again. This time, the device won't be breaking new ground and will have a range of rival products to shoot at, including a host of Android 3.0-powered devices.

Padding Out the Features

Without digging through the endless rumors again, it would appear that the iPad 2 will be an evolutionary upgrade from the original iPad, which has sold over 15 million units in its first year. It could adapt some features found in the iPhone 4, such as the front-mounted camera and FaceTime chat.

The iPad 2 may not feature the higher-resolution retina display of the iPhone 4, as these screens get expensive as you scale up. Sizewise, it is likely to remain the same, with a further device, currently nicknamed iPad 3, likely to offer a smaller footprint yet to be unveiled. If a little brother does emerge onstage, it will go against Jobs' earlier criticism of such 7-inch devices.

Apple will almost certainly work its materials magic and unveil a lighter and thinner device to wow the crowds. Throw in a new, higher-specification processor and the possibility of an SD card memory upgrade slot and that should keep the fans happy until costs come down enough to throw in a stellar 2D, or possibly a 3D, display.