Will We See the iPad 2 in April?

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Rumor has it that Apple will launch a new iPad in April of next year, which happens to be roughly one year after the first one came out.

That a new iPad will eventually be available is inevitable, and the idea that it’d be available a year after the first one isn’t too far fetched given Apple’s tendency to cycle products annually, but the news is credited to unnamed “sources from Taiwan-based component makers,” according to DigiTimes.

Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about unreleased products, so don’t expect much verifiable information until CEO Steve Jobs announces the new iPad himself. However, here are some new features we might see:

Cameras: One of the biggest complaints about the iPad is that it doesn’t have front- or rear-facing cameras for videoconferencing. This is a trivial addition for Apple that will likely find its way into the new iPad for use with Apple’s FaceTime features that it rolled out with the iPhone 4.

Weight: Another big complaint has been that at 1.5 pounds, the iPad tends to get a bit unwieldy after long periods of use. If Apple is able to shave a half-pound off the overall weight through a combination of battery size reduction and lighter components without shrinking the screen, it’d be a big win.

Screen: Steve Jobs has made his disdain for 7-inch tablets clear, so don’t expect a smaller iPad unless Jobs is engaging in some sort of reverse psychology. That being said, a higher-resolution 9.7-inch (or larger) screen that could fully take advantage of 720p HD video may be in the cards.

The idea of multiple screen sizes is a tricky one, too. With the iPhone, you get one screen size. With Mac laptops, you get multiple screen sizes. It seems like the iPad would tilt slightly closer to the iPhone in terms of uniformity, so I still think this next batch would come in just one screen size.

However, the screen is the single most expensive component in the iPad so if Apple wanted to hit a few more pricing tiers, it could perhaps offer an 8.9-inch iPad, a 9.7-inch iPad, and an 11.6-inch iPad, for instance. That seems a bit too complicated now, though, but we may see something like it down the line.

4G: The new iPad would be a perfect candidate for a 4G chip. Verizon’s LTE service seems most logical since Apple and Verizon are already sort of in cahoots with the iPad. But Verizon’s 4G data plans are almost prohibitively expensive so the two companies would have to work out some sort of special iPad-specific plans like Apple and AT&T did with the first iPad. Verizon already rolled out special 3G plans for the iPad, though, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Colors: Early iPods were white or white. Or white. Now they’re available in a rainbow of colors. It may be too early for Apple to start offering multi-colored iPads with the second generation model, but you never know.

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