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Apple Set to Release High-End iPad 2 Plus in Late 2011?

It's time to stir up the rumor pot once more as we get another hardware prediction and this time it concerns Apple tablet, the iPad. According to Craig Berger, an analyst of FBR Capital Markets, Apple is working on the successor to the iPad 2, but it won't be an iPad 3. This next version of the iPad 2 is allegedly a higher end model which will be called "iPad 2 Plus" which is going to be released later this year.

Apple iPad 2
According to a note by Berger to clients:

There are some indications from the supply chain that Apple may look to introduce an 'iPad 2 Plus' device as they put out request for quotes from various component suppliers for this marginally different device.

We now hear that component makers have received request-for-quotes (RFQs) from Apple for an 'iPad 2 Plus,' though no production schedule has yet been confirmed with suppliers.

Berger's reports doesn't exactly go into the specifics especially with regards to hardware specs of the allegedly upcoming iPad 2 Plus. But he did mention that the device will feature a higher resolution display at 250 to 300 pixels per inch as compared to the current iPad 2's 132 pixels per inch.

If Apple does roll out high-end iPads by the holiday season, then it could severely affect productions volumes:

If an iPad 2 Plus does come out as a high-end iPad for the holidays, then the fourth-quarter 2011 production volumes could diminish somewhat as screen constraints again arise as LG and/or Samsung would likely have difficulties ramping screen yield rates for these high resolution displays right out of the gate.

iPad 2 White
Berger did acknowledged that the information that he currently has isn't enough to validate anything. It would still be very much nothing more than a commentary unless he gets more solid information from his supply chain contacts.

While we find this new commentary interesting, we await more confirming data points from other supply chain contacts before fully believing a new iPad device is coming in 2011.

The analyst also released some information with regards to the production volume of the current iPad 2. According to him, 10.8 million iPad 2s are scheduled for production for this month alone, a significant increase over last month's 8.5 million units. Apple is having an aggressive sales projection for the last quarter of the year, as the company projects to sell about 16.5 million as compared to last quarter's 10 million units.

As usual reports from analyst doesn't hold much weight as they usually base their analysis and prediction from data that are already available. But a high-end iPad is not much of far-fetched idea especially if Apple wants to boost its iPad sales during the holiday season but however doing so will not coincide with Apple's release cycle of the device. If Apple is indeed to release the iPad 2 Plus, considering the volume production of the iPad 2, it likely will serve as a higher end model rather than a replacement. [via International Business Times]

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