Apple Inc. has started manufacturing a new version of its iPad tablet computer with a built-in camera and faster processor, said people familiar with the matter.
The new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, these people said. It will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features like video-conferencing, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad, these people said. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, they said.
A spokeswoman for Apple, Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment.
The new iPad is expected by Apple watchers to debut in the next couple of months at a similar price range as the current iPad, though exact details couldn’t be learned. It currently costs between $499 and $829.
The tablet market has become more competitive since the iPad’s arrival last year. Companies like Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. are working on tablets with features the iPad won’t have, such as support for high-speed high-speed 4G wireless networks.
Although the iPad dominates tablet sales now, research firm IHS iSuppli estimates that by 2013, the iPad’s market share will decline to less than 50% of the overall market.
On Tuesday, Dell Inc. said it plans to release a 10-inch tablet that runs on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 7 operating system later this year. Hewlett-Packard Co. is expected Wednesday to show off a tablet that runs the WebOS operating system it acquired along with Palm.
All four carriers—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile—currently sell Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch tablet that sought to compete with the iPad. In early January, Samsung said it had shipped two million tablets but an executive revealed in the company’s quarterly earnings call that those figures don’t represent actual sales to consumers.
Verizon, a venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, was late in getting its hands on the first iPad, but will be on equal footing with AT&T this time. The carrier started selling the iPad in October and will begin selling the iPhone this week.
The one feature in the new iPad that may disappoint consumers will be the lack of significant improvement in the resolution of the device’s display. People familiar with the situation said Apple has had trouble improving the display technology, in part because of the iPad screen’s larger size compared with the iPhone.
IF YOU JUST GOT YOUR IPAD…. ITS TIME TO UPGRADE!!!!