Sources are reporting that although Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) future plans may not yet include an iPad 3, a suitable upgrade is in the works. Rumors swelled indicating that the company plans to release an iPad 2 “plus” in time for the holiday season this year. According to a note from FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger, “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…we await more confirming data points from other supply chain contacts before fully believing a new iPad device is coming in 2011.”
Thisismynext.com thinks the device will feature an upgraded visual display with HD capabilities, saying, “As hard as it might be to believe, the new tablet is said to sport a double resolution screen (2048 x 1536), and will be dubbed the “iPad HD.” The idea behind the product is apparently that it will be a “pro” device aimed at a higher end market — folks who work in video and photo production possibly — and will be introduced alongside something like an iPad version of Final Cut or Aperture.”
News of the new iPad comes in addition to recent reports that Apple plans to release two new phones this fall, a totally revamped iPhone 5, and a cheaper, less flashy upgrade of the current iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S. The company will reportedly switch to Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) wireless chips for its new phones. Revenues from iPhone sales accounted for 1/2 the company’s first quarter total of $24.7 billion, according to the WSJ. Apple has sold over 108 million iPhone units since the launch of its first model in 2007. iPads, by contrast, may sell anywhere form 30-40 million units in the company’s current fiscal year.
Whether the rumors are true or not, these tablet makers and suppliers must be worrying about falling farther behind: Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).