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Putting the rumors to rest: iPad 2 announced today

The press event announcement - whatever could Apple be releasing today?

The press event announcement - whatever could Apple be releasing today?

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Updated: April 22, 2011 10:07PM

Apple will announce its newest iPad - the iPad 2 - at a press event today in San Francisco.

As other tablet makers start to roll out the hottest new personal computing devices - Motorola’s well-reviewed Android-based Xoom is one of the first competitors to market - the rumor mill has spun up as to what new feature will be seen for the iPad.

Sun-Times technology columnist Andy Ihnatko, who will be at and liveblogging the announcement, has tackled the possibility for three of the main predictions.

A higher resolution display

“I seriously doubt it. It would make iPad 2 more expensive and it’d drain the hell out of the battery. Unless Apple can solve for X and Y, don’t count on it.”

Built-in video out and an SD card slot

“Interesting ideas — it makes the iPad into a better travel computer, and sales of these accessories have been very solid — but Apple hates cutting holes in their devices. I suspect that they’ll be content to keep these features as external accessories. Mini DisplayPort would be a good plus on many different levels, though.”

A mini-USB port

“No way in hell.”

Ihnatko says he expects more of a refresh than a reinvention of iPad, though does anticipate at least a modest price drop. A $49 shave off iPad base prices would put serious pressure on the other tablet makers, most of whom are bringing hardware to the scene already at or above the iPad price point.

Some of the other rumors about iPad 2 that will finally be addressed today include:

1) There will be three versions of the device - WiFi-only, WiFi-plus-UMTS (AT&T’s 3G technology), and a Verizon-friendly CDMA chipset model.

2) Front- and back-facing cameras, at least in part to further Apple’s video chat service FaceTime. Also a needed upgrade to match most other new tablets which feature cameras of some sort.

3) A flat back, a change from the beveled style currently featured. This would put the iPad design more in line with the iPhone design.

4) A revamp of the speakers, giving them some wide-range pop.

6) A dual-core chipset to boost multi-tasking and general speed for iPad.

7) a smaller, 7-inch iPad version.

8) An improved, smudge-resistant screen.

Of course, rumors of this sort all tend to fly around Apple products - particularly ones as popular as the iPad line. Unless an employee leaves a prototype model on a barstool, though, it’s often impossible to penetrate Apple’s veil of secrecy.

So the waiting game continues for a few more hours. Stay tuned.

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