The iPad 2 may finally be unveiled next Wednesday morning, but that doesn't mean that the rumors and speculation will be slowing down in the mean time. First up, we've got news that Apple may be reducing its iPad 2 production numbers initially because of low touch panel yields and those design changes that we heard about yesterday. Apple had originally planned to push out between 400,000 and 600,000 iPad 2's, the report claims, but now will only produce around 300,000-400,000 in the first quarter.
So now that we (may) know how many iPad 2's will be available at launch, how about we speculate about when exactly that launch will go down? According to unnamed sources speaking with 9 to 5 Mac, the new iOS tablet will be made available to hungry consumers "towards the end of March." That would be a little earlier than the April launch that many expect, but it's also much closer than the June rumors from yesterday.
Finally, some new iPad 2 mockups have emerged over at Japanese blog iLab.cc. The site says that the dummy units were put together using various info gained from parts suppliers and in Shenzhen. As you can see, the mockup is quite a bit thinner than the current iPad and features both a larger speaker grille and the iPod Touch-like form factor that we've been hearing about for months.
While we've been assuming that the second iPad would hit some time in early April for a while now, it wouldn't come as much of a surprise if it actually arriving towards the end of March. After all, we've seen various models of the iPhone launch around mid to late June and early July. Plus, I'm sure Apple wouldn't mind putting out the new iPad as soon as possible to try and draw interesting away from competing tablets like the XOOM. As for the mockups, we won't know for sure just how accurate they are until next week, but I will say that they certainly seem to line up with all of the rumors that we've heard up to this point. Do you all think that the next iPad will look like these new mockups or will Apple's tablet look a little different?