Apple will make the next version of the iPad compatible with more wireless carriers including Verizon, according to DigiTimes. An anonymous source inside Apple's supply chain said 60 to 65 percent of iPad shipments this year were 3G models, according to the report. To meet demand for an always-connected iPad, Apple will reportedly ship three versions of the second-generation iPad, dubbed iPad 2. The new tablet will come as a Wi-Fi only version, Wi-FI + 3G for GSM networks (AT&T and T-Mobile) and Wi-Fi + 3G for CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon).
Currently, Apple ships a Wi-Fi only version and a Wi-Fi + 3G model for GSM networks. What's not clear, however, is whether the rumored CDMA iPad would be compatible with both Sprint and Verizon or whether it would be a carrier-specific model. There has been a lot of recent speculation about Apple and CDMA devices. Another popular rumor says Apple will launch a CDMA version of the iPhone on Verizon in January. Apple's smartphone has been a GSM-only handset since the debut of the first iPhone in 2007.
DigiTimes says the new iPad will go into production during the latter half of January, and will ship around 500,000 units shortly thereafter. But don't get too excited about those early shipments. If the rumors are true, those January iPad 2 shipments would merely be sitting in warehouses for several months. Apple is expected to roll out the rumored iPad 2 along the same timeframe as the original iPad. That means Apple will likely announce the new device in January, followed by a late March/early April launch.
The DigiTimes report also says that sources inside Apple's supply chain estimate iPad shipments in 2011 will reach 40 million units. It's not clear how many of those devices would be sold by the end of the year, but that number, if proven accurate, would still be staggering compared with 2010 sales. Between April and September, Apple sold 7.46 million iPads. The company is expected to release iPad sales figures for October to December on January 18 during Apple's first quarterly financial report for 2011.
It's not clear what features the rumored iPad 2 would have, but the latest rumors suggest the next iPad would feature improved display resolution for its 9.7-inch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras, wide-range speakers, SD card slot (doubtful) and a dual-core processor.