iPad 2: AT&T, Verizon Models Reportedly in Production

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Once again we're purportedly close to the launch date of a new iPad, and once again the Wall Street Journal has come out with a cryptic report about Apple's latest wonder tablet. Citing "people familiar with the matter" the Journal says that Apple has started manufacturing the next-generation iPad.

This suggests Apple is still gearing up to launch a new iPad within the coming weeks -- most likely before the spring -- despite an internal shake-up because of CEO Steve Jobs' medical leave. The Journal's report is notable since the paper has been a reliable source in the past for Apple rumors, especially close to major product releases. In January 2010, for example, the paper reported on a series of leaks about the iPad weeks before its launch. More recently, the Journal had the inside scoop on the iTunes Beatles launch in November.

The iPad 2 Rumors

The Journal report cites a lot of rumors that have been circulating for months. The iPad 2 will reportedly have a front-facing camera, a faster processor, more memory, better graphics capabilities and be thinner and lighter than the original. The report also says the iPad 2 will not have a significantly better display resolution and will not be compatible with 4G cellular networks such as Verizon's LTE system.

Multiple Carriers For iPad 2?

The iPad 2's 3G cellular access will reportedly be available at launch through Verizon and AT&T, and not T-Mobile and Sprint. Taking this rumor a little bit further, that suggests the iPad 2 could have a dual-mode GSM/CDMA chip capable of running on both AT&T's and Verizon's networks. Currently, the only way to get an iPad to run on Verizon is to pair it with a Mi-Fi mobile hotspot -- a deal Verizon currently offers. But that is not a practical option to keep offering to users since having to remember to pack your Mi-Fi with your iPad every time you head out the door can be a bit cumbersome. Meaning there are only two choices for Apple: produce a CDMA-friendly iPad and the current GSM 3G model or make a single dual-mode "world tablet." If that's the case, and Apple is going with a dual-mode tablet, you have to wonder if a dual-mode iPhone is also in the works.

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