Analyst: 'Premium' iPad 2 coming

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Analyst: 'Premium' iPad 2 coming

Apple has begun production on an incremental upgrade for the iPad 2, presenting the possibility of the first instance of mainstream and high-end iPad models, according to an analyst. 

A 'professional' iPad would have incremental improvements and possibly appeal to segments such as publishing, according to analysts. (Credit: Apple)

"Apple is...expected to roll out a premium version of iPad 2--a higher resolution screen, front-/rear- facing HD cameras--in the current quarter," Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, wrote in a research note today. This follows similar reports about a high-end iPad in the works. 

"It looks like Hon Hai is going into production with this new SKU," he said in a phone interview, citing supply chain sources. 

Because Apple won't "sunset" the current iPad 2, just announced in March, it will be a model that "probably appeals to the publishing vertical and some other select segments," he said. 

Wayne Lam, an analyst at IHS-iSuppli, said in an interview today it's "definitely within the realm of possibility. The true third-generation iPad would be on a yearly [timetable]. That said, I wouldn't preclude anything they could do incrementally."
Lam continued. "Anything modular that's in the device can be easily upgradeable. For example, the 3G module. Potentially they can upgrade to a 4G module. And the display. If it contains the same footprint, size, power requirements and if the OS supports higher resolution, [it's possible]," he said. iOS 5, due this fall, would need to support the upgrades, he said.

Related stories
How to keep your iPad data safe
30 best iPad games
How to use the iPad's split keyboard on iOS 5
The cost of a better display is a concern, however, unless the iPad is a premium product targeted at certain professional segments, he said, echoing Kumar's comments. "To add incrementally more cost to it may be a challenge unless they market it as a professional version," he said.